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Walden Henry David Thoreau

Walden Henry David Thoreau

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Walden Walden Walden Walden Walden Walden Walden Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information about Project Gutenberg Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor



The Project Gutenberg Etext of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau Please take a look at the important information in this header. We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an electronic path open for the next readers. Do not remove this. **Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts** **Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971** *These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations* Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and further information is included below. We need your donations. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau January, 1995 [Etext #205] **The Project Gutenberg Etext of Walden by Henry David Thoreau** ******This file should be named waldn10.txt or waldn10.zip****** Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, waldn11.txt. VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, waldn10a.txt. This etext was created by Judith Boss, Omaha, Nebraska. The equipment: an IBM-compatible 486/50, a Hewlett-Packard ScanJet IIc flatbed scanner, and Calera Recognition Systems' M/600 Series Professional OCR software and RISC accelerator board donated by Calera Recognition Systems. We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance of the official release dates, for time for better editing. Please note: neither this list nor its contents are final till midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement. The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month. A preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment and editing by those who wish to do so. To be sure you have an up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes in the first week of the next month. Since our ftp program has a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a new copy has at least one byte more or less.

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I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. House-Warming 14. for if he has lived sincerely. which some would call impertinent. if I did not feel lonesome. The Bean-Field 8. if I was not afraid. The Pond in Winter 17. and some. In most books.On the Duty of Civil Disobedience -Economy When I wrote the following pages. though they do not appear to me at all impertinent. and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives. I lived alone. first or last. that. 7 I should not obtrude my affairs so much on the notice of my readers if very particular inquiries had not been made by my townsmen concerning my mode of life. Sounds 5. Inhabitants and Winter Visitors 15. who have large families. We commonly do not remember that it is. on the shore of Walden Pond. is the main difference. Conclusion -. Baker Farm 11. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. in the woods. Moreover. and the like. I will therefore ask those of my readers who feel no particular interest in me to pardon me if I undertake to answer some of these questions in this book. in a house which I had built myself. Unfortunately. Some have asked what I got to eat. Others have been curious to learn what portion of my income I devoted to charitable purposes. on my side. considering the circumstances. in Concord. or rather the bulk of them. it must have been in a distant . Massachusetts. I. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again. always the first person that is speaking. a mile from any neighbor.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 4. the I. Brute Neighbors 13. Solitude 6. in respect to egotism. The Ponds 10. and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. in this it will be retained. I lived there two years and two months. Winter Animals 16. after all. require of every writer. Spring 18. The Village 9. Visitors 7. Higher Laws 12. but. or first person. very natural and pertinent. how many poor children I maintained. a simple and sincere account of his own life. some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land. is omitted.

Their fingers. barns. or dwelling. pasture. pushing before it a barn seventy-five feet by forty. if not before. But men labor under a mistake. I have travelled a good deal in Concord. mowing.even these forms of conscious penance are hardly more incredible and astonishing than the scenes which I daily witness. while from the twist of the neck nothing but liquids can pass into the stomach". whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms. that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in. at the foot of a tree. as they will find when they get to the end of it. but as soon as one head is crushed. or standing on one leg on the tops of pillars -. By a seeming fate. cattle. who are said to live in New England. not so much concerning the Chinese and Sandwich Islanders as you who read these pages. they are employed. I see young men. something about your condition. for they were only twelve. for it may do good service to him whom it fits. and not seeing where they fell. as it says in an old book. and offices. through mere ignorance and mistake. who struggle with no such unnecessary inherited encumbrances. like caterpillars. or measuring with their bodies. and one hundred acres of land. It is a fool's life. enduring pain and care. especially your outward condition or circumstances in this world. What I have heard of Bramins sitting exposed to four fires and looking in the face of the sun. 8 I would fain say something. experiensque laborum. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. creeping down the road of life. in shops. throwing the stones over their heads behind them. Et documenta damus qua simus origine nati. The twelve labors of Hercules were trifling in comparison with those which my neighbors have undertaken. whether it is necessary that it be as bad as it is. How many a poor immortal soul have I met well-nigh crushed and smothered under its load. my townsmen. Actually. they will accept such portions as apply to them. its Augean stables never cleansed. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. houses. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf. Approving that our bodies of a stony nature are.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor land to me. for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. the breadth of vast empires. and farming tools. Who made them serfs of the soil? Why should they eat their sixty acres. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat. whether it cannot be improved as well as not. tillage. when man is condemned to eat only his peck of dirt? Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born? They have got to live a man's life. or looking at the heavens over their shoulders "until it becomes impossible for them to resume their natural position. the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways. but I could never see that these men slew or captured any monster or finished any labor. in this town. Or.-"From thence our kind hard-hearted is. chained for life. They have no friend Iolaus to burn with a hot iron the root of the hydra's head. find it labor enough to subdue and cultivate a few cubic feet of flesh. As for the rest of my readers. commonly called necessity. laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. as Raleigh rhymes it in his sonorous way. Most men. with their heads downward. the laboring man has not . what it is. It is said that Deucalion and Pyrrha created men by throwing stones over their heads behind them:-Inde genus durum sumus." So much for a blind obedience to a blundering oracle. over flames. and woodlot! The portionless. from excessive toil. two spring up. are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. and everywhere. and had an end. or hanging suspended. and fields. pushing all these things before them. are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. and get on as well as they can. even in this comparatively free country.

It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live. always on the limits. and what are the true necessaries and means of life. Self-emancipation even in the West Indian provinces of the fancy and imagination -. can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. I have no doubt that some of you who read this book are unable to pay for all the dinners which you have actually eaten. Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion.who has so often to use his knowledge? We should feed and clothe him gratuitously sometimes. new people put a little dry wood under a pot. his labor would be depreciated in the market. but the slave and prisoner of his own opinion of himself. however ancient. The finest qualities of our nature. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. perchance. it appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. to get custom. for my sight has been whetted by experience. in the brick bank. find it hard to live. or his hat. we all know. it is worse to have a Northern one.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 9 leisure for a true integrity day by day. more safely. to use the words of the catechism. are poor. Old people did not know enough once. and new deeds for new. that you may lay up something against a sick day. promising to pay. It is never too late to give up our prejudices. how immortal. you try and find that you can. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow. tomorrow. Old deeds for old people. I may almost say. He has no time to be anything but a machine. does any divinity stir within him? His highest duty to fodder and water his horses! What is his destiny to him compared with the shipping interests? Does not he drive for Squire Make-a-stir? How godlike. is he? See how he cowers and sneaks. trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt. Some of you. and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. also. and buried by this other's brass. like the bloom on fruits. contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity. No way of thinking or doing. a fame won by his own deeds. and recruit him with our cordials. or in a stocking behind the plastering. not being immortal nor divine. is the chief end of man. can be trusted without proof. lying. but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself. another's brass. and have come to this page to spend borrowed or stolen time. something to be tucked away in an old chest. hardly so well. or rather indicates. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. always promising to pay. how vaguely all the day he fears. are sometimes. What a man thinks of himself. only not state-prison offenses. . or his carriage. or for the coats and shoes which are fast wearing or are already worn out. I sometimes wonder that we can be so frivolous. no matter where. Age is no better. there are so many keen and subtle masters that enslave both North and South. no matter how much or how little. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. of the ladies of the land weaving toilet cushions against the last day. he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men. or. There is no play in them. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left. still living. How can he remember well his ignorance -. before we judge of him. or his coat. Talk of a divinity in man! Look at the teamster on the highway. that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes.which his growth requires -. that it is which determines. When we consider what. robbing your creditors of an hour. for this comes after work. gasping for breath. called by the Latins aes alienum. in a way to kill old people. as to attend to the gross but somewhat foreign form of servitude called Negro Slavery. and dying. his fate. to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going. by how many modes. as the phrase is. and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds. making yourselves sick. a very ancient slough. What old people say you cannot do. as it were. and dying today. The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. voting. It is hard to have a Southern overseer. not to betray too green an interest in their fates! As if you could kill time without injuring eternity. flattering. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country. or import his groceries for him. seeking to curry favor. for some of their coins were made of brass. wending to market by day or night. insolvent. mere smoke of opinion.what Wilberforce is there to bring that about? Think. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear.

"To know that we know what we know. I have lived some thirty years on this planet. my child. even with the ends of the fingers. their own experience has been so partial. Here is life. and what share belongs to that neighbor. According to Evelyn. and that we do not know what we do not know. and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones. reverencing our life. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live. and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experience. at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. but it does not avail me that they have tried it. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned anything of absolute value by living. The incessant anxiety and strain of some is a well-nigh incurable form of disease. and yet how much is not done by us! or. and if I repent of anything. The whole ground of human life seems to some to have been gone over by their predecessors. all the day long on the alert. with vegetable-made bones. we say.you who have lived seventy years. Practically. which in others are luxuries merely. and they are only less young than they were. what if we had been taken sick? How vigilant we are! determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it. an experiment to a great extent untried by me. for it furnishes nothing to make bones with". that is. which." When one man has reduced a fact of the . History. Whatever have been thy failures hitherto. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. for private reasons. If I had remembered this it would have prevented some mistakes. If I have any experience which I think valuable. Nature is as well adapted to our weakness as to our strength. nor are we to judge of what he can do by any precedents. as they must believe.I hear an irresistible voice which invites me away from all that. Undoubtedly the very tedium and ennui which presume to have exhausted the variety and the joys of life are as old as Adam. Confucius said. jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. The stars are the apexes of what wonderful triangles! What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment! Nature and human life are as various as our several constitutions. and the Roman praetors have decided how often you may go into your neighbor's land to gather the acorns which fall on it without trespass. and all things to have been cared for. Poetry. but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre." Hippocrates has even left directions how we should cut our nails. ay. This is the only way. the old have no very important advice to give the young. Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour. in all the worlds of the ages. so little has been tried.I know of no reading of another's experience so startling and informing as this would be. as. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? You may say the wisest thing you can. not without honor of a kind -. old man -. for it has not profited so much as it has lost. "You cannot live on vegetable food solely. We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do. I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. both the heights and the valleys. for who shall assign to thee what thou hast left undone?" We might try our lives by a thousand simple tests. neither shorter nor longer. I am sure to reflect that this my Mentors said nothing about. for instance. "be not afflicted. and their lives have been such miserable failures. "the wise Solomon prescribed ordinances for the very distances of trees. They have told me nothing. the most helpless and diseased. Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles. and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. All change is a miracle to contemplate. and denying the possibility of change. that is true knowledge. and in others still are entirely unknown. Mythology! -.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 10 qualified for an instructor as youth. One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels. walking all the while he talks behind his oxen. The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad. But man's capacities have never been measured. This was not the light in which I hoed them. and probably cannot tell me anything to the purpose. it is very likely to be my good behavior. that the same sun which ripens my beans illumines at once a system of earths like ours. One farmer says to me. but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.

keep comfortably warm -. Clothing. arose the present necessity to sit by it. etc. that is. The grand necessity. except to cook his Food. None of the brute creation requires more than Food and Shelter. It appears. Let us consider for a moment what most of the trouble and anxiety which I have referred to is about. what they stored. Yet some. unless he seeks the Shelter of the forest or the mountain's shadow. Shelter.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 11 imagination to be a fact to his understanding. To many creatures there is in this sense but one necessary of life. and Clothing. with an external heat greater than our own internal. what are the grossest groceries. then. and many of the fruits are sufficiently cooked by its rays. I foresee that all men at length establish their lives on that basis. that is. not only houses. which are our night-clothes. The animal heat is the result of a slow combustion. The summer. and the consequent use of it. but so much for analogy. and possibly from the accidental discovery of the warmth of fire. in some climates. to keep the vital heat in us. be distributed under the several heads of Food. in warm less. though in the midst of an outward civilization. a few implements. and can all be obtained at a trifling cost. or from long use has become. and disease and death take place when this is too rapid. were observed. Fuel. I mean whatever. the New Hollander goes naked with impunity. if any. a knife. It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life. no less physical than social. rank next to necessaries. or poverty. and to cold. not wise. To the bison of the prairie it is a few inches of palatable grass. For the improvements of ages have had but little influence on the essential laws of man's existence. and Clothing and Shelter are wholly or half unnecessary. and how much it is necessary that we be troubled. stationery. if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them. Man has invented. we are told.. of course a la mode. Food. of all that man obtains by his own exertions. but with an excess of these. probably. the fire goes out. but clothes and cooked food. whether from savageness. or from some defect in the draught. an axe. the sun is his fire. makes possible to man a sort of Elysian life. ever attempt to do without it. these naked savages. and for the studious. lamplight. may not cookery properly be said to begin? Darwin. is to keep warm. or of Fuel. are not to be distinguished from those of our ancestors. to his great surprise. Most of the luxuries. robbing the nests and breasts of birds to prepare this shelter within a shelter. The luxuriously rich are not simply kept comfortably warm. but unnaturally hot.and die in New England at last. for our bodies. as the mole has its bed of grass and leaves at the end of its burrow! The poor man is wont to complain that this is a cold world. or at least careful.Shelter and Clothing also serve only to retain the heat thus generated and absorbed. a spade. necessary of life. or philosophy. for while Food may be regarded as the Fuel which keeps up the fire within us -. in order that they may live -. we refer directly a great part of our ails. and devote themselves to trade for ten or twenty years. and in this country. while the European shivers in his clothes. and many of the so-called comforts of life. animal heat. to see what it was that men most commonly bought at the stores. Is it impossible to combine the hardiness of these savages with the intellectualness of the civilized man? According to Liebig. are not only not indispensable. so important to human life that few. man's body is a stove. to barbarous and unhealthy regions. or even to look over the old day-books of the merchants. and Fuel. accurately enough. not only with our Food." So. "to be streaming with perspiration at undergoing such a roasting. animal life. has been from the first. who were farther off. the naturalist. The necessaries of life for man in this climate may. says of the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. while Food generally is more various. from the above list. therefore. a wheelbarrow. with water to drink. In cold weather we eat more. for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success. that while his own party. but positive . and Shelter. Of course the vital heat is not to be confounded with fire. that the expression. and food the fuel which keeps up the internal combustion in the lungs. were far from too warm. What pains we accordingly take. go to the other side of the globe. By the words. at first a luxury. We observe cats and dogs acquiring the same second nature.that is. who were well clothed and sitting close to a fire. but with our beds. they are cooked. as I find by my own experience. and more easily obtained. as I implied before. By proper Shelter and Clothing we legitimately retain our own internal heat. At the present day. is nearly synonymous with the expression. as our skeletons.and Fuel serves only to prepare that Food or to increase the warmth of our bodies by addition from without -. and access to a few books. is then unnecessary. or for want of fuel.

the past and future. and never paint "No Admittance" on my gate. sheltered. If I should attempt to tell how I have desired to spend my life in years past. I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy. or get rid of it. at any hour of the day or night. none so rich in inward. or art. what does he want next? Surely not more warmth of the same kind. There are some who complain most energetically and inconsolably of any. but know not how to use it. and often cut down at top for this purpose. Of a life of luxury the fruit is luxury. to toe that line. so that most would not know them in their flowering season. but practically. but inseparable from its very nature. or literature. How can a man be a philosopher and not maintain his vital heat by better methods than other men? When a man is warmed by the several modes which I have described. I reckon myself in this number. but not philosophers. The same is true of the more modern reformers and benefactors of their race. and yet not voluntarily kept. but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates. nor to those who find their encouragement and inspiration in precisely the present condition of things. it appears. to adventure on life now. which is precisely the present moment. and are not treated like the humbler esculents. In any weather. more numerous. there are any such. With respect to luxuries and comforts.and. and perchance build more magnificently and spend more lavishly than the richest. and they know whether they are well employed or not. and cherish it with the fondness and enthusiasm of lovers -. magnanimity. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success. to stand on the meeting of two eternities. as more and richer food. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. not knowing how they live -. as has been dreamed. which. practically as their fathers did. and trust. Persian. the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor. there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities. because they are. The ancient philosophers. but that he may rise in the same proportion into the heavens above? -. I would gladly tell all that I know about it. and that is. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts. though they may be biennials. in whatever circumstances. not manly. nor even to found a school. were a class than which none has been poorer in outward riches. without ever impoverishing themselves. -. and the like. it would certainly astonish those who know nothing about it. incessant. I will only hint at some of the enterprises which I have cherished. to some extent. not kingly. independence. and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters. for there are more secrets in my trade than in most men's. Why has man rooted himself thus firmly in the earth. a life of simplicity. far from the ground. for it has sent its radicle downward.but mainly to the mass of men who are discontented. The soil. and notch it on my stick too. who have accumulated dross. clothed. I do not speak to those who are well employed. You will pardon some obscurities. it would probably surprise those of my readers who are somewhat acquainted with its actual history. doing their duty. and idly complaining of the hardness of their lot or of the times. But why do men degenerate ever? What makes families run out? What is the nature of the luxury which enervates and destroys nations? Are we sure that there is none of it in our own lives? The philosopher is in advance of his age even in the outward form of his life. I do not mean to prescribe rules to strong and valiant natures. indeed. and are in no sense the progenitors of a noble race of men. and hotter fires. who will mind their own affairs whether in heaven or hell.for the nobler plants are valued for the fruit they bear at last in the air and light. finer and more abundant clothing. Hindoo. like his contemporaries. warmed.if. as they say. . None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty. whether in agriculture. There are nowadays professors of philosophy. When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life. and Greek. and it may now send its shoot upward also with confidence. are cultivated only till they have perfected their root. They make shift to live merely by conformity. I have been anxious to improve the nick of time.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 12 hindrances to the elevation of mankind. when they might improve them. It is to solve some of the problems of life. He is not fed. not only theoretically. is suited to the seed. larger and more splendid houses. It is remarkable that we know so much of them as we do. We know not much about them. or commerce. but most terribly impoverished class of all. Chinese. his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.

but I had not made it worth any one's while to buy them. would dissolve again in the sun. At other times watching from the observatory of some cliff or tree. describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. Nature herself! How many mornings. However. For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain-storms. and instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets. by some magic. never got audited. I will weave baskets. keeping them open. and winter days. farmers starting for Boston in the twilight. In short. So many autumn. in this case my pains were their own reward. I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. we do not want any. and that. If it had concerned either of the political parties. which I can swear to have kept faithfully. as is too common with writers. before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 13 I long ago lost a hound. or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. spent outside the town. then of forest paths and all across-lot routes. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part. "do you mean to starve us?" Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off -. though I never caught much. surveyor. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other's while to buy them. I have watered the red huckleberry. and then it would be the white man's to buy them. Not long since. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others? . to hear and carry it express! I well-nigh sunk all my capital in it. "Do you wish to buy any baskets?" he asked. where the public heel had testified to their utility. and." was the reply. However. but. in my case. I never assisted the sun materially in his rising. ay. or waiting at evening on the hill-tops for the sky to fall. wealth and standing followed -. of no very wide circulation. I have looked after the wild stock of the town. nor make my place a sinecure with a moderate allowance. a bay horse. indeed. whose editor has never yet seen fit to print the bulk of my contributions. the red pine and the black ash. and lost my own breath into the bargain. I have met one or two who had heard the hound. depend upon it. which give a faithful herdsman a good deal of trouble by leaping fences. For a long time I was reporter to a journal. not the sunrise and the dawn merely. and am still on their trail. manna-wise. a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood.that the lawyer had only to weave arguments. and the tramp of the horse. many of my townsmen have met me returning from this enterprise. which might have withered else in dry seasons. I got only my labor for my pains. I have not set my heart on that.he had said to himself: I will go into business. doubt not. it would have appeared in the Gazette with the earliest intelligence. and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud. till it became more and more evident that my townsmen would not after all admit me into the list of town officers. and did my duty faithfully. still less accepted. if not of highways. It is true. and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves. trying to hear what was in the wind. "No. My accounts. to telegraph any new arrival. the sand cherry and the nettle-tree. I have. summer and winter. Yet not the less. I went on thus for a long time (I may say it without boasting). if possible. faithfully minding my business. "What!" exclaimed the Indian as he went out the gate. that I might catch something. The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. though I did not always know whether Jonas or Solomon worked in a particular field to-day. did I think it worth my while to weave them. have I been about mine! No doubt. or at least make him think that it was so. but. or woodchoppers going to their work. it was of the last importance only to be present at it. and ravines bridged and passable at all seasons. the white grape and the yellow violet. running in the face of it. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture. and. that was none of my business. To anticipate. and I have had an eye to the unfrequented nooks and corners of the farm. it is a thing which I can do. Many are the travellers I have spoken concerning them. and a turtle dove. still less paid and settled.

to superintend the discharge of imports night and day. and secondly. I have always endeavored to acquire strict business habits. -. account of stock to be taken from time to time. to be hindered from accomplishing which for want of a little common sense. perhaps the worst vice betrayed is improvidence. If your trade is with the Celestial Empire. than to have a sound conscience. prospects of war and peace everywhere. the logarithmic tables to be corrected. and anticipate the tendencies of trade and civilization -. were to be obtained. My purpose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live dearly there. It is a labor to task the faculties of a man -. speaking all passing vessels bound coastwise. and ever. using such slender means as I had already got. It is said that a flood-tide. first. to buy and sell and keep the accounts. to keep yourself informed of the state of the markets. To oversee all the details yourself in person. until we hesitate to lay them aside without such delay and medical appliances and some such solemnity even as our bodies. it may not be easy to conjecture where those means. to come at once to the practical part of the question. in this state of society. from Hanno and the Phoenicians down to our day.Who could wear a patch. that will still be indispensable to every such undertaking. great adventurers and merchants. but if a similar accident happens to the legs of his pantaloons. receiving the impress of the wearer's character. and owner and underwriter. I determined to go into business at once. cannot know the comfort of wearing a suit that fits. and write or read every letter sent. will be fixture enough.such problems of profit and loss. they can be mended. in fine. to know how you stand. to be at once pilot and captain. appeared not so sad as foolish. of interest. to retain the vital heat. -. to cover nakedness. to be upon many parts of the coast almost at the same time -. Petersburg from the face of the earth. You will export such articles as the country affords. to have fashionable. yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety.often the richest freight will be discharged upon a Jersey shore. in procuring it. or any curacy or living anywhere else. but to transact some private business with the fewest obstacles. commonly. I have thought that Walden Pond would be a good place for business. unweariedly sweeping the horizon. As for Clothing. It would be easier for them to hobble to town with a broken leg than with a broken pantaloon. and he may judge how much of any necessary or important work may be accomplished without adding to his wardrobe. over the knee? Most behave as if they believed that their prospects for life would be ruined if they should do it. to keep up a steady despatch of commodities. in some Salem harbor. purely native products. to read every letter received. a little enterprise and business talent. then some small counting house on the coast. studying the lives of all great discoverers and navigators.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 14 Finding that my fellow-citizens were not likely to offer me any room in the court house. and ice in the Neva.charts to be studied. No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes. But even if the rent is not mended. perhaps we are led oftener by the love of novelty and a regard for the opinions of men. they are indispensable to every man. No Neva marshes to be filled. I sometimes try my acquaintances by such tests as this -. Often if an accident happens to a gentleman's legs. not solely on account of the railroad and the ice trade. for he considers. -. than by a true utility. it offers advantages which it may not be good policy to divulge. but I must shift for myself. with a westerly wind.there is the untold fate of La Prouse. though made by some tailor or dressmaker to their majesties. Every day our garments become more assimilated to ourselves. as demand a universal knowledge. much ice and pine timber and a little granite. or at least clean and unpatched clothes. always in native bottoms. They are no better than wooden horses to hang the clean clothes on. of tare and tret. and ever. for by the error of some calculator the vessel often splits upon a rock that should have reached a friendly pier -. the position of reefs and new lights and buoys to be ascertained. using new passages and all improvements in navigation. it is a good port and a good foundation. and gauging of all kinds in it. would sweep St.universal science to be kept pace with. Let him who has work to do recollect that the object of clothing is.taking advantage of the results of all exploring expeditions. or two extra seams only. for the supply of such a distant and exorbitant market.to be your own telegraph. I turned my face more exclusively than ever to the woods. where I was better known. though you must everywhere build on piles of your own driving. and not wait to acquire the usual capital. As this business was to be entered into without the usual capital. not what is truly respectable. Kings and queens who wear a suit but once. These will be good ventures. there is no help for it. but .

or false skin. but something to do. you standing shiftless by. numerous as they are. and its manifestation in dress and equipage alone. If there is not a new man. that I am so rash. as if she quoted an authority as impersonal as the Fates. When I hear this oracular sentence. and a winter cap for sixty-two and a half cents. are fit to worship God in. emphasizing to myself each word separately that I may come at the meaning of it. from east to west. or a better be made at home at a nominal cost. We don garment after garment. is never done. walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety. beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. and the caterpillar its wormy coat. and I find it difficult to get made what I want. clad in such a suit. and cheap clothing can be obtained at prices really to suit customers. But if my jacket and trousers. which will last as many years. tell surely of any company of civilized men which belonged to the most respected class? When Madam Pfeiffer. Only they who go to soires and legislative balls must have new coats. Could you. are our cellular integument. a kind of work which you may call endless. they will do. close by a hat and coat on a stake. for clothes are but our outmost cuticle and mortal coil. where . or true bark. there will not be found wise men to do him reverence? When I ask for a garment of a particular form. While one thick garment is." Even in our democratic New England towns the accidental possession of wealth. actually worn out. I believe that all races at some seasons wear something equivalent to the shirt. how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you. I have heard of a dog that barked at every stranger who approached his master's premises with clothes on. in such a case. if an enemy take the town. thick pantaloons for two dollars. like that of the fowls. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 15 what is respected. as well as that of mankind.if a hero ever has a valet -. however ragged or dirty the old. Thus also the snake casts its slough. It is desirable that a man be clad so simply that he can lay his hands on himself in the dark. must be a crisis in our lives. and not rather a new wearer of clothes.bare feet are older than shoes. who could do with less? I say. my hat and shoes. I am for a moment absorbed in thought. But they yield such respect. as if we grew like exogenous plants by addition without. or shall we say richer. cowhide boots for a dollar and a half a pair. that I may find out by what degree of consanguinity They are . people are judged of by their clothes. our thicker garments. and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly that. The loon retires to solitary ponds to spend it. who would not soonest salute the scarecrow? Passing a cornfield the other day. at least. as good as three thin ones. constantly worn. will they not? Who ever saw his old clothes -. "They do not make them so now." not emphasizing the "They" at all. or cortex. until we have so conducted. Beside. that has lain dusty in the garret for an indeterminate period. Our moulting season. are so far heathen. and may be stripped off here and there without fatal injury. Old shoes will serve a hero longer than they have served his valet -. and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Dress a scarecrow in your last shift. He was only a little more weather-beaten than when I saw him last. and be inevitably cashiered at last by our own opinion. she says that she felt the necessity of wearing other than a travelling dress. obtain for the possessor almost universal respect. All men want. he can. not something to do with. when she went to meet the authorities. for him the old will do. while a thick coat can be bought for five dollars. clothes introduced sewing. coats to change as often as the man changes in them. for most purposes. It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.. a summer hat for a quarter of a dollar. by him perchance to be bestowed on some poorer still. which cannot be removed without girdling and so destroying the man. in her adventurous travels round the world. my tailoress tells me gravely. that we feel like new men in the old. and need to have a missionary sent to them. A man who has at length found something to do will not need to get a new suit to do it in. which partakes not of our life. resolved into its primitive elements..his old coat. and he can make them do. had got so near home as Asiatic Russia. a great many coats and breeches. of his own earning. like the old philosopher. by an internal industry and expansion. try it in your old clothes. for she "was now in a civilized country. Otherwise we shall be found sailing under false colors. or rather something to be. where is he so poor that. so enterprised or sailed in some way. We know but few men. simply because she cannot believe that I mean what I say. a woman's dress. but our shirts are our liber. I recognized the owner of the farm. but was easily quieted by a naked thief. Our outside and often thin and fanciful clothes are our epidermis. so that it was not a deed of charity to bestow it on some poor boy.

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related to me, and what authority they may have in an affair which affects me so nearly; and, finally, I am inclined to answer her with equal mystery, and without any more emphasis of the "they" -- "It is true, they did not make them so recently, but they do now." Of what use this measuring of me if she does not measure my character, but only the breadth of my shoulders, as it were a peg to bang the coat on? We worship not the Graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap, and all the monkeys in America do the same. I sometimes despair of getting anything quite simple and honest done in this world by the help of men. They would have to be passed through a powerful press first, to squeeze their old notions out of them, so that they would not soon get upon their legs again; and then there would be some one in the company with a maggot in his head, hatched from an egg deposited there nobody knows when, for not even fire kills these things, and you would have lost your labor. Nevertheless, we will not forget that some Egyptian wheat was handed down to us by a mummy. On the whole, I think that it cannot be maintained that dressing has in this or any country risen to the dignity of an art. At present men make shift to wear what they can get. Like shipwrecked sailors, they put on what they can find on the beach, and at a little distance, whether of space or time, laugh at each other's masquerade. Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. We are amused at beholding the costume of Henry VIII, or Queen Elizabeth, as much as if it was that of the King and Queen of the Cannibal Islands. All costume off a man is pitiful or grotesque. It is only the serious eye peering from and the sincere life passed within it which restrain laughter and consecrate the costume of any people. Let Harlequin be taken with a fit of the colic and his trappings will have to serve that mood too. When the soldier is hit by a cannonball, rags are as becoming as purple. The childish and savage taste of men and women for new patterns keeps how many shaking and squinting through kaleidoscopes that they may discover the particular figure which this generation requires today. The manufacturers have learned that this taste is merely whimsical. Of two patterns which differ only by a few threads more or less of a particular color, the one will be sold readily, the other lie on the shelf, though it frequently happens that after the lapse of a season the latter becomes the most fashionable. Comparatively, tattooing is not the hideous custom which it is called. It is not barbarous merely because the printing is skin-deep and unalterable. I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing. The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched. In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high. As for a Shelter, I will not deny that this is now a necessary of life, though there are instances of men having done without it for long periods in colder countries than this. Samuel Laing says that "the Laplander in his skin dress, and in a skin bag which he puts over his head and shoulders, will sleep night after night on the snow ... in a degree of cold which would extinguish the life of one exposed to it in any woollen clothing." He had seen them asleep thus. Yet he adds, "They are not hardier than other people." But, probably, man did not live long on the earth without discovering the convenience which there is in a house, the domestic comforts, which phrase may have originally signified the satisfactions of the house more than of the family; though these must be extremely partial and occasional in those climates where the house is associated in our thoughts with winter or the rainy season chiefly, and two thirds of the year, except for a parasol, is unnecessary. In our climate, in the summer, it was formerly almost solely a covering at night. In the Indian gazettes a wigwam was the symbol of a day's march, and a row of them cut or painted on the bark of a tree signified that so many times they had camped. Man was not made so large limbed and robust but that he must seek to narrow his world and wall in a space such as fitted him. He was at first bare and out of doors; but though this was pleasant enough in serene and warm weather, by daylight, the rainy season and the winter, to say nothing of the torrid sun, would perhaps have nipped his race in the bud if he had not made haste to clothe himself with the shelter of a house. Adam and Eve, according to the fable, wore the bower before other clothes. Man

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor wanted a home, a place of warmth, or comfort, first of warmth, then the warmth of the affections.


We may imagine a time when, in the infancy of the human race, some enterprising mortal crept into a hollow in a rock for shelter. Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it. Who does not remember the interest with which, when young, he looked at shelving rocks, or any approach to a cave? It was the natural yearning of that portion, any portion of our most primitive ancestor which still survived in us. From the cave we have advanced to roofs of palm leaves, of bark and boughs, of linen woven and stretched, of grass and straw, of boards and shingles, of stones and tiles. At last, we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think. From the hearth the field is a great distance. It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies, if the poet did not speak so much from under a roof, or the saint dwell there so long. Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves cherish their innocence in dovecots. However, if one designs to construct a dwelling-house, it behooves him to exercise a little Yankee shrewdness, lest after all he find himself in a workhouse, a labyrinth without a clue, a museum, an almshouse, a prison, or a splendid mausoleum instead. Consider first how slight a shelter is absolutely necessary. I have seen Penobscot Indians, in this town, living in tents of thin cotton cloth, while the snow was nearly a foot deep around them, and I thought that they would be glad to have it deeper to keep out the wind. Formerly, when how to get my living honestly, with freedom left for my proper pursuits, was a question which vexed me even more than it does now, for unfortunately I am become somewhat callous, I used to see a large box by the railroad, six feet long by three wide, in which the laborers locked up their tools at night; and it suggested to me that every man who was hard pushed might get such a one for a dollar, and, having bored a few auger holes in it, to admit the air at least, get into it when it rained and at night, and hook down the lid, and so have freedom in his love, and in his soul be free. This did not appear the worst, nor by any means a despicable alternative. You could sit up as late as you pleased, and, whenever you got up, go abroad without any landlord or house-lord dogging you for rent. Many a man is harassed to death to pay the rent of a larger and more luxurious box who would not have frozen to death in such a box as this. I am far from jesting. Economy is a subject which admits of being treated with levity, but it cannot so be disposed of. A comfortable house for a rude and hardy race, that lived mostly out of doors, was once made here almost entirely of such materials as Nature furnished ready to their hands. Gookin, who was superintendent of the Indians subject to the Massachusetts Colony, writing in 1674, says, "The best of their houses are covered very neatly, tight and warm, with barks of trees, slipped from their bodies at those seasons when the sap is up, and made into great flakes, with pressure of weighty timber, when they are green.... The meaner sort are covered with mats which they make of a kind of bulrush, and are also indifferently tight and warm, but not so good as the former.... Some I have seen, sixty or a hundred feet long and thirty feet broad.... I have often lodged in their wigwams, and found them as warm as the best English houses." He adds that they were commonly carpeted and lined within with well-wrought embroidered mats, and were furnished with various utensils. The Indians had advanced so far as to regulate the effect of the wind by a mat suspended over the hole in the roof and moved by a string. Such a lodge was in the first instance constructed in a day or two at most, and taken down and put up in a few hours; and every family owned one, or its apartment in one. In the savage state every family owns a shelter as good as the best, and sufficient for its coarser and simpler wants; but I think that I speak within bounds when I say that, though the birds of the air have their nests, and the foxes their holes, and the savages their wigwams, in modern civilized society not more than one half the families own a shelter. In the large towns and cities, where civilization especially prevails, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole. The rest pay an annual tax for this outside garment of all, become indispensable summer and winter, which would buy a village of Indian wigwams, but now helps to keep them poor as long as they live. I do not mean to insist here on the disadvantage of hiring compared with owning, but it is evident that the savage owns his shelter because it costs so little, while the civilized man hires his commonly because he cannot afford to own it; nor can he, in the long run, any better afford to hire. But, answers one, by merely paying this tax, the poor civilized man secures an abode which is a

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palace compared with the savage's. An annual rent of from twenty-five to a hundred dollars (these are the country rates) entitles him to the benefit of the improvements of centuries, spacious apartments, clean paint and paper, Rumford fire-place, back plastering, Venetian blinds, copper pump, spring lock, a commodious cellar, and many other things. But how happens it that he who is said to enjoy these things is so commonly a poor civilized man, while the savage, who has them not, is rich as a savage? If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man -- and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages -- it must be shown that it has produced better dwellings without making them more costly; and the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run. An average house in this neighborhood costs perhaps eight hundred dollars, and to lay up this sum will take from ten to fifteen years of the laborer's life, even if he is not encumbered with a family -- estimating the pecuniary value of every man's labor at one dollar a day, for if some receive more, others receive less; -- so that he must have spent more than half his life commonly before his wigwam will be earned. If we suppose him to pay a rent instead, this is but a doubtful choice of evils. Would the savage have been wise to exchange his wigwam for a palace on these terms? It may be guessed that I reduce almost the whole advantage of holding this superfluous property as a fund in store against the future, so far as the individual is concerned, mainly to the defraying of funeral expenses. But perhaps a man is not required to bury himself. Nevertheless this points to an important distinction between the civilized man and the savage; and, no doubt, they have designs on us for our benefit, in making the life of a civilized people an institution, in which the life of the individual is to a great extent absorbed, in order to preserve and perfect that of the race. But I wish to show at what a sacrifice this advantage is at present obtained, and to suggest that we may possibly so live as to secure all the advantage without suffering any of the disadvantage. What mean ye by saying that the poor ye have always with you, or that the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? "As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. "Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." When I consider my neighbors, the farmers of Concord, who are at least as well off as the other classes, I find that for the most part they have been toiling twenty, thirty, or forty years, that they may become the real owners of their farms, which commonly they have inherited with encumbrances, or else bought with hired money -- and we may regard one third of that toil as the cost of their houses -- but commonly they have not paid for them yet. It is true, the encumbrances sometimes outweigh the value of the farm, so that the farm itself becomes one great encumbrance, and still a man is found to inherit it, being well acquainted with it, as he says. On applying to the assessors, I am surprised to learn that they cannot at once name a dozen in the town who own their farms free and clear. If you would know the history of these homesteads, inquire at the bank where they are mortgaged. The man who has actually paid for his farm with labor on it is so rare that every neighbor can point to him. I doubt if there are three such men in Concord. What has been said of the merchants, that a very large majority, even ninety-seven in a hundred, are sure to fail, is equally true of the farmers. With regard to the merchants, however, one of them says pertinently that a great part of their failures are not genuine pecuniary failures, but merely failures to fulfil their engagements, because it is inconvenient; that is, it is the moral character that breaks down. But this puts an infinitely worse face on the matter, and suggests, beside, that probably not even the other three succeed in saving their souls, but are perchance bankrupt in a worse sense than they who fail honestly. Bankruptcy and repudiation are the springboards from which much of our civilization vaults and turns its somersets, but the savage stands on the unelastic plank of famine. Yet the Middlesex Cattle Show goes off here with eclat annually, as if all the joints of the agricultural machine were suent. The farmer is endeavoring to solve the problem of a livelihood by a formula more complicated than the problem itself. To get his shoestrings he speculates in herds of cattle. With consummate skill he has set his

This is the reason he is poor. and are themselves a staple production of the South. is the condition of the operatives of every denomination in England. in a country where the usual evidences of civilization exist. which is the great workhouse of the world. and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have. and the development of all their limbs and faculties is checked. Most men appear never to have considered what a house is. gradually leaving off palm-leaf hat or cap of woodchuck skin. Such too. or. the condition of a very large body of the inhabitants may not be as degraded as that of savages. and it may be were not decently buried themselves.for earthly greatness All heavenly comforts rarefies to air. and all winter with an open door. for our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them. got his own leg into it. As Chapman sings. As if one were to wear any sort of coat which the tailor might cut out for him.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 19 trap with a hair spring to catch comfort and independence. I refer to the degraded poor. that she "had not made it movable. Or I could refer you to Ireland. if he is employed the greater part of his life in obtaining gross necessaries and comforts merely. which is marked as one of the white or enlightened spots on the map. have been wishing to sell their houses in the outskirts and move into the village. for nearly a generation. To know this I should not need to look farther than to the shanties which everywhere border our railroads. As I understand it." And when the farmer has got his house. And if the civilized man's pursuits are no worthier than the savage's. complain of hard times because he could not afford to buy him a crown! It is possible to invent a house still more convenient and luxurious than we have. but have not been able to accomplish it. at least. in this town. While civilization has been improving our houses. to a greater or less extent. where I see in my daily walks human beings living in sties. he may not be the richer but the poorer for it. who. It has created palaces. and it may still be urged. as he turned away. It certainly is fair to look at that class by whose labor the works which distinguish this generation are accomplished. I hardly need refer now to the laborers in our Southern States who produce the staple exports of this country. Granted that the majority are able at last either to own or hire the modern house with all its improvements. why should he have a better dwelling than the former? But how do the poor minority fare? Perhaps it will be found that just in proportion as some have been placed in outward circumstances above the savage. for the sake of light. but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings. and only death will set them free. Their condition only proves what squalidness may consist with civilization. and then. But to confine myself to those who are said to be in moderate circumstances. The mason who finishes the cornice of the palace returns at night perchance to a hut not so good as a wigwam. which yet all would admit that man could not afford to pay . The luxury of one class is counterbalanced by the indigence of another. I know one or two families. or the South Sea Islander. On the one side is the palace. without any visible. wood-pile." The myriads who built the pyramids to be the tombs of the Pharaohs were fed on garlic. or any other savage race before it was degraded by contact with the civilized man. "The false society of men --. and the forms of both old and young are permanently contracted by the long habit of shrinking from cold and misery. not now to the degraded rich. and the bad neighborhood to be avoided is our own scurvy selves. by which means a bad neighborhood might be avoided". and for a similar reason we are all poor in respect to a thousand savage comforts. though surrounded by luxuries. others have been degraded below him. that last improvement in civilization. and it be the house that has got him. that was a valid objection urged by Momus against the house which Minerva made. often imaginable. it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. Yet I have no doubt that that people's rulers are as wise as the average of civilized rulers. Contrast the physical condition of the Irish with that of the North American Indian. on the other are the almshouse and "silent poor. It is a mistake to suppose that.

any carload of fashionable furniture. Or what if I were to allow -. or not paid for. Morning work! By the blushes of Aurora and the music of Memnon. and umbrellas. than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way. I cannot but perceive that this so-called rich and refined life is a thing jumped at. and their internal economy managed and sustained. and ottomans. But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. Without factitious support. when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still. and our lives must be stripped. We now no longer camp as for a night. on record. and empty guest chambers for empty guests. bearers of divine gifts to man. the necessity of the young man's providing a certain number of superfluous glow-shoes. and beautiful housekeeping and beautiful living be laid for a foundation: now. The first question which I am tempted to put to the proprietor of such great impropriety is. to some solid and honest though earthy foundation. How. as it were. nor a shelf to receive the bust of a hero or a saint. The traveller who stops at the best houses. my attention being wholly occupied with the jump. I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. and he who stood under a tree for shelter. in a tent in this world. at least. that they left him still but a sojourner in nature. where there is no house and no housekeeper. Who bolsters you? Are you one of the ninety-seven who fail. . or climbing the mountain-tops. and if he resigned himself to their tender mercies he would soon be completely emasculated. before he dies? Why should not our furniture be as simple as the Arab's or the Indian's? When I think of the benefactors of the race. for the publicans presume him to be a Sardanapalus. There is not a nail to hang a picture on. The cart before the horse is neither beautiful nor useful. When he was refreshed with food and sleep.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 20 for. He dwelt.that our furniture should be more complex than the Arab's. and sun-shades. or crossing the plains. and not leave her morning's work undone. but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten.would it not be a singular allowance? -. to stand. with its divans. We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agri-culture. and then perhaps I may look at your bawbles and find them ornamental. unless where man has broken ground. with a free circulation. man is sure to come to earth again beyond that distance. but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily. is that of certain wandering Arabs. I wonder that the floor does not give way under the visitor while he is admiring the gewgaws upon the mantelpiece. I do not see in my mind any retinue at their heels. furnish no proper pedestal for it. if any had come down to us. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart. by precept and example. our houses and streets. The best works of art are the expression of man's struggle to free himself from this condition. in proportion as we are morally and intellectually his superiors! At present our houses are cluttered and defiled with it. and let him through into the cellar. for I remember that the greatest genuine leap. There is actually no place in this village for a work of fine art. so called. could I have a furnished house? I would rather sit in the open air. We have built for this world a family mansion. which we are taking west with us. When I consider how our houses are built and paid for. Shall we always study to obtain more of these things. and it threatens without attaining these to become no better than a modern drawing-room. and I do not get on in the enjoyment of the fine arts which adorn it. and for the next a family tomb. or the three who succeed? Answer me these questions. for no dust gathers on the grass. I think that in the railroad car we are inclined to spend more on luxury than on safety and convenience. and a good housewife would sweep out the greater part into the dust hole. whom we have apotheosized as messengers from heaven. It is the luxurious and dissipated who set the fashions which the herd so diligently follow. but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven. invented for the ladies of the harem and the effeminate natives of the Celestial Empire. and was either threading the valleys. and not sometimes to be content with less? Shall the respectable citizen thus gravely teach. and a hundred other oriental things. a housekeeper. Before we can adorn our houses with beautiful objects the walls must be stripped. due to human muscles alone. and threw them out the window in disgust. The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer. for our lives. which Jonathan should be ashamed to know the names of. a taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors. he contemplated his journey again. what should be man's morning work in this world? I had three pieces of limestone on my desk. who are said to have cleared twenty-five feet on level ground. then. The very simplicity and nakedness of man's life in the primitive ages imply this advantage. soon discovers this.

" They did not "provide them houses. as if their principle were to satisfy the more pressing wants first. The ice in the pond was not yet dissolved. Not that all architectural ornament is to be neglected even in the rudest periods. states more particularly that "those in New Netherland. In the course of three or four years." speaking of the first settlers of this town. I speak understandingly on this subject. so that they can live dry and warm in these houses with their entire families for two. alas! I have been inside one or two of them. at the highest side. 1845. it certainly is better to accept the advantages. they built themselves handsome houses. One day. said that it was the apple of his eye. and make our civilization a blessing. But are the more pressing wants satisfied now? When I think of acquiring for myself one of our luxurious dwellings. by the Lord's blessing. so to speak. for the information of those who wished to take up land there. But. in the beginning of the colonies. arrowy white pines. nearest to where I intended to build my house. Near the end of March. There were some slight flurries of snow during the days that I worked there. in which the winter of man's discontent was thawing as well as the earth. driving it with a stone. and the life that had lain torpid began to stretch itself. who have no means to build farmhouses at first according to their wishes. I am deterred. With a little more wit we might use these materials so as to become richer than the richest now are. which the invention and industry of mankind offer. The owner of the axe. the country is not yet adapted to human culture. in his "Wonder-Working Providence. casting the soil aloft upon timber. boards and shingles. But to make haste to my own experiment. or bark in sufficient quantities. writing in Dutch. and line the wood with the bark of trees or something else to prevent the caving in of the earth. lime and bricks." The secretary of the Province of New Netherland. in 1650. or whole logs. tells us that "they burrow themselves in the earth for their first shelter under some hillside. as he released his hold on it. covered with pine woods. but for the most part when I came out on to the railroad. and we are still forced to cut our spiritual bread far thinner than our forefathers did their wheaten. but perhaps it is the most generous course thus to permit your fellow-men to have an interest in your enterprise. it being understood that partitions are run through those cellars which are adapted to the size of the family. and a small open field in the woods where pines and hickories were springing up. when my axe had come off and I had cut a green hickory for a wedge. still in their youth. commenced their first dwelling-houses in this fashion for two reasons: firstly. like the tenement of the shellfish. and not overlaid with it. I saw a striped snake run into the water. through which I looked out on the pond. They were pleasant spring days. cellar fashion. they make a smoky fire against the earth. and he lay on the bottom. and the rails shone in the spring sun. for. though there were some open spaces. "till the earth. and had placed the whole to soak in a pond-hole in order to swell the wood. with whom he was contemporary. apparently without . and know what they are lined with. for I have made myself acquainted with it both theoretically and practically. its yellow sand heap stretched away gleaming in the hazy atmosphere. and began to cut down some tall. on my way home. It was a pleasant hillside where I worked. In such a neighborhood as this. for timber. The wealthy and principal men in New England. are cheaper and more easily obtained than suitable caves. and it was all dark-colored and saturated with water. six or seven feet deep. brought forth bread to feed them. secondly. in order not to discourage poor laboring people whom they brought over in numbers from Fatherland. dig a square pit in the ground. three. and four years. floor this cellar with plank. when the country became adapted to agriculture. It is difficult to begin without borrowing. and cover the spars with bark or green sods. raise a roof of spars clear up." says he. I borrowed an axe and went down to the woods by Walden Pond. Though we are not so degenerate but that we might possibly live in a cave or a wigwam or wear skins today.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 21 Old Johnson. as long and as broad as they think proper. but let our houses first be lined with beauty. The civilized man is a more experienced and wiser savage. and especially in New England. though so dearly bought. and. where they come in contact with our lives. and not to want food the next season. case the earth inside with wood all round the wall. and wainscot it overhead for a ceiling. but I returned it sharper than I received it." and the first year's crop was so light that "they were forced to cut their bread very thin for a long season. and I heard the lark and pewee and other birds already come to commence another year with us. in order not to waste time in building. spending on them several thousands." In this course which our ancestors took there was a show of prudence at least. or even well-tempered clay or flat stones.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 22 inconvenience. My days in the woods were not very long ones. It appeared to me that for a like reason men remain in their present low and primitive condition. he to vacate at five tomorrow morning. The wind that blows Is all that any body knows. gilt-framed looking-glass.of two whole squares originally. but rather made the most of it. On the 1st of April it rained and melted the ice. I heard a stray goose groping about over the pond and cackling as if lost. It were well. good boards all around. though a good deal warped and made brittle by the sun. and in the early part of the day. At six I passed him and his family on the road. -Men say they know many things. warning me not to step into the cellar. all with my narrow axe. and a good window" -. I walked about the outside. as long as I stayed there. One large . C. and aguish. It was of small dimensions. The roof was the soundest part. waiting for the sun to thaw them. came to the door and asked me to view it from the inside. When I called to see it he was not at home. not having many communicable or scholar-like thoughts. having become better acquainted with it. so that they were just as straight and much stronger than sawed ones. and to my bread was imparted some of their fragrance. at first unobserved from within. for James had in the meanwhile returned. and also that the board floor extended under the bed. all told. and we chatted pleasantly over the chips which I had made. and read the newspaper in which it was wrapped. to be there early. I had previously seen the snakes in frosty mornings in my path with portions of their bodies still numb and inflexible. Mrs. and a patent new coffee-mill nailed to an oak sapling. but a perennial passage for the hens under the door board. leaving the rest of the bark on. for my hands were covered with a thick coat of pitch. they were "good boards overhead. I hewed the main timbers six inches square. and not much else to be seen. and anticipate certain indistinct but wholly unjust claims on the score of ground rent and fuel. or like the spirit of the fog. singing to myself. The bargain was soon concluded. I to pay four dollars and twenty-five cents tonight. I had already bought the shanty of James Collins. Doorsill there was none. a silk parasol. for I had borrowed other tools by this time. only here a board and there a board which would not bear removal. at noon. Sometimes a rambler in the wood was attracted by the sound of my axe. dank. with a peaked cottage roof. And a thousand appliances. and also studs and rafters. By the middle of April. they would of necessity rise to a higher and more ethereal life. perhaps because he had not yet fairly come out of the torpid state. sitting amid the green pine boughs which I had cut off. an infant in the house where it was born. the dirt being raised five feet all around as if it were a compost heap. only the cat had passed out that way lately. which was very foggy. and had a dirt floor for the most part. most of the studs on two sides only. an Irishman who worked on the Fitchburg Railroad. or more than a quarter of an hour. selling to nobody else meanwhile: I to take possession at six. a sort of dust hole two feet deep. The hens were driven in by my approach. he said. and the rafters and floor timbers on one side. She lighted a lamp to show me the inside of the roof and the walls. So I went on for some days cutting and hewing timber. the window was so deep and high. though I had cut down some of them. Each stick was carefully mortised or tenoned by its stump. But lo! they have taken wings -The arts and sciences. clammy. for boards. James Collins' shanty was considered an uncommonly fine one. a bed. It was dark. yet I usually carried my dinner of bread and butter. and a place to sit. my house was framed and ready for the raising. for I made no haste in my work. This he assured me was the only encumbrance. In her own words. but if they should feel the influence of the spring of springs arousing them. There was a stove. Before I had done I was more the friend than the foe of the pine tree.

and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. for instance. I read but little. I dug my cellar in the side of a hill sloping to the south. my holder. an Irishman. It is not the tailor alone who is the ninth part of a man. it is as much the preacher. where a woodchuck had formerly dug his burrow. afforded me as much entertainment. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter? What does architecture amount to in the experience of the mass of men? I never in all my walks came across a man engaged in so simple and natural an occupation as building his house. I set up the frame of my house. hens -. six feet square by seven deep. and spikes to his pocket. and the merchant. before a fire became necessary for warmth. to assist at the raising of loftier structures one day. what foundation a door. there are architects so called in this country. for the boards were carefully feather-edged and lapped. They are destined. It was but two hours' work. as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos. at the devastation.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 23 bundle held their all -. I was informed treacherously by a young Patrick that neighbor Seeley. with spring thoughts. One early thrush gave me a note or two as I drove along the woodland path. and removed it to the pond-side by small cartloads. early in the morning: which mode I still think is in some respects more convenient and agreeable than the usual one. staples. rather to improve so good an occasion for neighborliness than from any necessity. and then stood when I came back to pass the time of day. as he said. unconcerned. spreading the boards on the grass there to bleach and warp back again in the sun. trod in a trap set for woodchucks. In those days. and long after the superstructure has disappeared posterity remark its dent in the earth. down through sumach and blackberry roots. and the farmer. and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough. Where is this division of labor to end? and what object does it finally serve? No doubt another may also think for me.all but the cat. When it stormed before my bread was baked. in the intervals of the carting. Under the most splendid house in the city is still to be found the cellar where they store their roots as of old. the sand still keeps its place. It would be worth the while to build still more deliberately than I did. as I learned afterward. for in almost all latitudes men dig into the earth for an equable temperature. so that it was perfectly impervious to rain. with the help of some of my acquaintances. there being a dearth of work. a window. considering. and passed some pleasant hours in that way. but before boarding I laid the foundation of a chimney at one end. and so became a dead cat at last. and the lowest stain of vegetation. I took particular pleasure in this breaking of ground. True. have in the nature of man. doing my cooking in the meanwhile out of doors on the ground. drawing the nails. in the beginning of May. and perchance never raising any superstructure until we found a better reason for it than our temporal necessities even. coffee-mill. and I have heard of one at least possessed with the idea of . There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest. which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built. We belong to the community. but the least scraps of paper which lay on the ground. At length. and. I built the chimney after my hoeing in the fall. looking-glass. or tablecloth. and not stoned. but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so to the exclusion of my thinking for myself. bringing two cartloads of stones up the hill from the pond in my arms. when my hands were much employed. No man was ever more honored in the character of his raisers than I. in fact answered the same purpose as the Iliad. The house is still but a sort of porch at the entrance of a burrow. transferred the still tolerable. I began to occupy my house on the 4th of July. but the sun having never shone on them. I took down this dwelling the same morning. a garret. He was there to represent spectatordom. the poetic faculty would be universally developed. and sat under them to watch my loaf. straight. The sides were left shelving. and look freshly up. and drivable nails. and help make this seemingly insignificant event one with the removal of the gods of Troy. to a fine sand where potatoes would not freeze in any winter. as soon as it was boarded and roofed. I trust. a cellar. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands. she took to the woods and became a wild cat. I fixed a few boards over the fire.bed.

I have thus a tight shingled and plastered house. humble log huts and cottages of the poor commonly.. It would signify somewhat... in fact. a necessity. are the most unpretending. by such a contract as the inhabitants of Broadway their Trinity Church? But a man has no more to do with the style of architecture of his house than a tortoise with that of its shell: nor need the soldier be so idle as to try to paint the precise color of his virtue on his standard... and equally interesting will be the citizen's suburban box. 1. What if an equal ado were made about the ornaments of style in literature. Is he thinking of his last and narrow house? Toss up a copper for it as well.. which makes them picturesque. the separate cost of the various materials which compose them:-Boards . the indweller.. and what colors are daubed upon his box. This man seemed to me to lean over the cornice.. I know has gradually grown from within outward. and eight-feet posts. and nobleness. Before winter I built a chimney. I will wear them. The exact cost of my house... not at the foundation.the architecture of the grave -and "carpenter" is but another name for "coffin-maker..and not how the inhabitant. all of which was done by myself. with imperfect and sappy shingles made of the first slice of the log. forsooth. mostly shanty boards. which were already impervious to rain.. two trap doors. as the painter knows. might have an almond or caraway seed in it -. but not counting the work. and timidly whisper his half truth to the rude occupants who really knew it better than he.... in any earnest sense. The most interesting dwellings in this country. and hence a beauty. and paint your house that color. if any.. What of architectural beauty I now see. let it turn pale or blush for you. and not any peculiarity in their surfaces merely. It was only how to put a core of truth within the ornaments. with a garret and a closet. one door at the end.out of some unconscious truthfulness. $ 8.. when his life shall be as simple and as agreeable to the imagination. paying the usual price for such materials as I used. or the shell-fish its mother-o'-pearl tints... He may turn pale when the trial comes..03+.though I hold that almonds are most wholesome without the sugar -. The enemy will find it out.... whose edges I was obliged to straighten with a plane....Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 24 making architectural ornaments have a core of truth. in his despair or indifference to life... it is the life of the inhabitants whose shells they are... ten feet wide by fifteen long..00 Laths . What reasonable man ever supposed that ornaments were something outward and in the skin merely -." One man says. and I give the details because very few are able to tell exactly what their houses cost.. a large window on each side.. Much it concerns a man. and fewer still.. and a September gale would strip them off. and there is as little straining after effect in the style of his dwelling. if... as if it were a revelation to him. and a brick fireplace opposite.. it is of a piece with constructing his own coffin -. might build truly within and without. that every sugarplum. but the spirit having departed out of the tenant....25 . but only a little better than the common dilettantism. he slanted them and daubed it.. 4.. like borrowed plumes. A sentimental reformer in architecture. who is the only builder -. All very well perhaps from his point of view. A great proportion of architectural ornaments are literally hollow.. and shingled the sides of my house. out of the necessities and character of the indweller.... he began at the cornice. Refuse shingles for roof sides . They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar.. without ever a thought for the appearance and whatever additional beauty of this kind is destined to be produced will be preceded by a like unconscious beauty of life.. without injury to the substantials.. take up a handful of the earth at your feet... What an abundance of leisure be must have! Why do you take up a handful of dirt? Better paint your house your own complexion. was as follows.. and the architects of our bibles spent as much time about their cornices as the architects of our churches do? So are made the belles-lettres and the beaux-arts and their professors. and let the ornaments take care of themselves. An enterprise to improve the style of cottage architecture! When you have got my ornaments ready... how a few sticks are slanted over him or under him.that the tortoise got his spotted shell.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Two second-hand windows with glass .................... 2.43 One thousand old brick ........... 4.00 Two casks of lime ................ 2.40 That was high. Hair ............................. 0.31 More than I needed. Mantle-tree iron ................. 0.15 Nails ............................ 3.90 Hinges and screws ................ 0.14 Latch ............................ 0.10 Chalk ............................ 0.01 Transportation ................... 1.40 I carried a good part ------- on my back. In all ...................... $28.12+


These are all the materials, excepting the timber, stones, and sand, which I claimed by squatter's right. I have also a small woodshed adjoining, made chiefly of the stuff which was left after building the house. I intend to build me a house which will surpass any on the main street in Concord in grandeur and luxury, as soon as it pleases me as much and will cost me no more than my present one. I thus found that the student who wishes for a shelter can obtain one for a lifetime at an expense not greater than the rent which he now pays annually. If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself; and my shortcomings and inconsistencies do not affect the truth of my statement. Notwithstanding much cant and hypocrisy -- chaff which I find it difficult to separate from my wheat, but for which I am as sorry as any man -- I will breathe freely and stretch myself in this respect, it is such a relief to both the moral and physical system; and I am resolved that I will not through humility become the devil's attorney. I will endeavor to speak a good word for the truth. At Cambridge College the mere rent of a student's room, which is only a little larger than my own, is thirty dollars each year, though the corporation had the advantage of building thirty-two side by side and under one roof, and the occupant suffers the inconvenience of many and noisy neighbors, and perhaps a residence in the fourth story. I cannot but think that if we had more true wisdom in these respects, not only less education would be needed, because, forsooth, more would already have been acquired, but the pecuniary expense of getting an education would in a great measure vanish. Those conveniences which the student requires at Cambridge or elsewhere cost him or somebody else ten times as great a sacrifice of life as they would with proper management on both sides. Those things for which the most money is demanded are never the things which the student most wants. Tuition, for instance, is an important item in the term bill, while for the far more valuable education which he gets by associating with the most cultivated of his contemporaries no charge is made. The mode of founding a college is, commonly, to get up a subscription of dollars and cents, and then, following blindly the principles of a division of labor to its extreme -- a principle which should never be followed but with circumspection -to call in a contractor who makes this a subject of speculation, and he employs Irishmen or other operatives

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actually to lay the foundations, while the students that are to be are said to be fitting themselves for it; and for these oversights successive generations have to pay. I think that it would be better than this, for the students, or those who desire to be benefited by it, even to lay the foundation themselves. The student who secures his coveted leisure and retirement by systematically shirking any labor necessary to man obtains but an ignoble and unprofitable leisure, defrauding himself of the experience which alone can make leisure fruitful. "But," says one, "you do not mean that the students should go to work with their hands instead of their heads?" I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end. How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? Methinks this would exercise their minds as much as mathematics. If I wished a boy to know something about the arts and sciences, for instance, I would not pursue the common course, which is merely to send him into the neighborhood of some professor, where anything is professed and practised but the art of life; -- to survey the world through a telescope or a microscope, and never with his natural eye; to study chemistry, and not learn how his bread is made, or mechanics, and not learn how it is earned; to discover new satellites to Neptune, and not detect the motes in his eyes, or to what vagabond he is a satellite himself; or to be devoured by the monsters that swarm all around him, while contemplating the monsters in a drop of vinegar. Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month -- the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this -- or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the meanwhile, and had received a Rodgers' penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers?... To my astonishment I was informed on leaving college that I had studied navigation! -- why, if I had taken one turn down the harbor I should have known more about it. Even the poor student studies and is taught only political economy, while that economy of living which is synonymous with philosophy is not even sincerely professed in our colleges. The consequence is, that while he is reading Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Say, he runs his father in debt irretrievably. As with our colleges, so with a hundred "modern improvements"; there is an illusion about them; there is not always a positive advance. The devil goes on exacting compound interest to the last for his early share and numerous succeeding investments in them. Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at; as railroads lead to Boston or New York. We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate. Either is in such a predicament as the man who was earnest to be introduced to a distinguished deaf woman, but when he was presented, and one end of her ear trumpet was put into his hand, had nothing to say. As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly. We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough. After all, the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages; he is not an evangelist, nor does he come round eating locusts and wild honey. I doubt if Flying Childers ever carried a peck of corn to mill. One says to me, "I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country." But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, Suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is thirty miles; the fare ninety cents. That is almost a day's wages. I remember when wages were sixty cents a day for laborers on this very road. Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week together. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season. Instead of going to Fitchburg, you will be working here the greater part of the day. And so, if the railroad reached round the world, I think that I should keep ahead of you; and as for seeing the country and getting experience of that kind, I should have to cut your acquaintance altogether.

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Such is the universal law, which no man can ever outwit, and with regard to the railroad even we may say it is as broad as it is long. To make a railroad round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the whole surface of the planet. Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing; but though a crowd rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts "All aboard!" when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over -- and it will be called, and will be, "A melancholy accident." No doubt they can ride at last who shall have earned their fare, that is, if they survive so long, but they will probably have lost their elasticity and desire to travel by that time. This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once. "What!" exclaim a million Irishmen starting up from all the shanties in the land, "is not this railroad which we have built a good thing?" Yes, I answer, comparatively good, that is, you might have done worse; but I wish, as you are brothers of mine, that you could have spent your time better than digging in this dirt. Before I finished my house, wishing to earn ten or twelve dollars by some honest and agreeable method, in order to meet my unusual expenses, I planted about two acres and a half of light and sandy soil near it chiefly with beans, but also a small part with potatoes, corn, peas, and turnips. The whole lot contains eleven acres, mostly growing up to pines and hickories, and was sold the preceding season for eight dollars and eight cents an acre. One farmer said that it was "good for nothing but to raise cheeping squirrels on." I put no manure whatever on this land, not being the owner, but merely a squatter, and not expecting to cultivate so much again, and I did not quite hoe it all once. I got out several cords of stumps in plowing, which supplied me with fuel for a long time, and left small circles of virgin mould, easily distinguishable through the summer by the greater luxuriance of the beans there. The dead and for the most part unmerchantable wood behind my house, and the driftwood from the pond, have supplied the remainder of my fuel. I was obliged to hire a team and a man for the plowing, though I held the plow myself. My farm outgoes for the first season were, for implements, seed, work, etc., $14.72+. The seed corn was given me. This never costs anything to speak of, unless you plant more than enough. I got twelve bushels of beans, and eighteen bushels of potatoes, beside some peas and sweet corn. The yellow corn and turnips were too late to come to anything. My whole income from the farm was $ 23.44 Deducting the outgoes ............ 14.72+ ------There are left .................. $ 8.71+ beside produce consumed and on hand at the time this estimate was made of the value of $4.50 -- the amount on hand much more than balancing a little grass which I did not raise. All things considered, that is, considering the importance of a man's soul and of today, notwithstanding the short time occupied by my experiment, nay, partly even because of its transient character, I believe that that was doing better than any farmer in Concord did that year. The next year I did better still, for I spaded up all the land which I required, about a third of an acre, and I learned from the experience of both years, not being in the least awed by many celebrated works on husbandry, Arthur Young among the rest, that if one would live simply and eat only the crop which he raised, and raise no more than he ate, and not exchange it for an insufficient quantity of more luxurious and expensive things, he would need to cultivate only a few rods of ground, and that it would be cheaper to spade up that than to use oxen to plow it, and to select a fresh spot from time to time than to manure the old, and he could do all his necessary farm work as it were with his left hand at odd hours in the summer; and thus he

or horse. mankind begin to look up at it. Though we have many substantial houses of brick or stone. that nations should seek to commemorate themselves? How much more admirable the Bhagvat-Geeta than all the ruins of the East! Towers and temples are the luxury of princes. and then given his body to the dogs. Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. nor is its material silver.who were above such trifling. there was a crazy fellow once in this town who undertook to dig through to China. the former are so much the freer. Man does some of his part of the exchange work in his six weeks of haying. or cow. Mr. as at present. but luxurious and idle work. are we certain that what is one man's gain is not another's loss. More sensible is a rod of stone wall that bounds an honest man's field than a hundred-gated Thebes that has wandered farther from the true end of life. but what you might call Christianity does not. I should like to know who in those days did not build them -. I did not see any hammering stone. whether the building be an Egyptian temple or the United States Bank. As for the Pyramids. as he said. designs it on the back of his Vitruvius. However. The mainspring is vanity. and horses hereabouts. and it is not behindhand in its public buildings. but why not even by their power of abstract thought. except to a trifling extent. nor am I certain it is desirable that there should be. This town is said to have the largest houses for oxen. for I have as . Genius is not a retainer to any emperor. I love better to see stones in place. For my part. Balcom. and as one not interested in the success or failure of the present economical and social arrangements. A simple and independent mind does not toil at the bidding of any prince. Most of the stone a nation hammers goes toward its tomb only. but. It costs more than it comes to. with their assistance. and let man share the glory of such with the ox and horse. that is. does it follow that he could not have accomplished works yet more worthy of himself in that case? When men begin to do. assisted by the love of garlic and bread and butter. become the slaves of the strongest. I should have been nearly as well off as before. stonecutters. I desire to speak impartially on this point. for fear I should become a horseman or a herdsman merely. It should not be by their architecture. or marble. a promising young architect. for I was not anchored to a house or farm. or pig. but if we consider necessary work only. Beside being better off than they already. By surveying. Man thus not only works for the animal within him. As for the religion and love of art of the builders. it is much the same all the world over. when I was there. and that the stable-boy has equal cause with his master to be satisfied? Granted that some public works would not have been constructed without this aid. I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men. cows. The religion and civilization which are barbaric and heathenish build splendid temples. To what end. their farm is so much the larger. Certainly no nation that lived simply in all respects.to know who built them. Men and oxen exchange work. but I think that I shall not go out of my way to admire the hole which he made. whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile. But to proceed with my statistics. he heard the Chinese pots and kettles rattle. and it is no boy's play. the prosperity of the farmer is still measured by the degree to which the barn overshadows the house. or. every moment. but I have no time for it. I should never have broken a horse or bull and taken him to board for any work he might do for me. with hard pencil and ruler. for a symbol of this. which is a very crooked one. there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby. What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners? One piece of good sense would be more memorable than a monument as high as the moon. Many are concerned about the monuments of the West and the East -. pray. in other words. or gold. When the thirty centuries begin to look down on it. but there are very few halls for free worship or free speech in this county. I might possibly invent some excuse for them and him. not merely unnecessary or artistic. no nation of philosophers. carpentry. is so much stone hammered? In Arcadia. but could follow the bent of my genius. if my house had been burned or my crops had failed. I was more independent than any farmer in Concord. True.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 28 would not be tied to an ox. it is inevitable that a few do all the exchange work with the oxen. and day-labor of various other kinds in the village in the meanwhile. It buries itself alive. The grandeur of Thebes was a vulgar grandeur. and he got so far that. As for your high towers and monuments. would commit so great a blunder as to use the labor of animals. there never was and is not likely soon to be a nation of philosophers. and the job is let out to Dobson & Sons. and if society seems to be the gainer by so doing. the oxen will be seen to have greatly the advantage. he works for the animal without him.

.....Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 29 many trades as fingers........... both money and trouble. amounted to $ 8... if I did not know that most of my readers were equally guilty with myself......... as a Tartar would say -.. 1. the time when these estimates were made... 0....... namely........ 0....40-3/4 ........ Pork .....not counting potatoes. 0. 0... but I should not thus unblushingly publish my guilt.....25 Dried apple . which I had raised. partly for experiment's sake............ 1.. nor considering the value of what was on hand at the last date -. though I lived there more than two years -... I did eat $8..... 0........73 1/2 Molasses ..88 Costs more than Indian meal.99 3/4 Cheaper than rye.. 0...................80 Lard ....02 Salt . however it might seem to have your woodchucks ready dressed by the village butcher. Sugar .and devour him. a little green corn.... but though it afforded me a momentary enjoyment...... $ 1..effect his transmigration. 0.. from July 4th to March 1st.04 3/4 Indian meal ...... 0.... all told..... The expense of food for eight months. 0........ 0..34.was Rice .........74.... notwithstanding a musky flavor.. though little can be inferred from this item. Clothing and some incidental expenses within the same dates... The next year I sometimes caught a mess of fish for my dinner........10 One pumpkin .03 Yes.. I had earned $13........ I saw that the longest use would not make that a good practice...........73 Cheapest form of the saccharine............... Rye meal ..... and that their deeds would look no better in print. and some peas............ and once I went so far as to slaughter a woodchuck which ravaged my bean-field -..06 One watermelon ...22 Sweet potatoes ...........65 Apples .... 0.22 All experiments which failed: Flour ....

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So that all the pecuniary outgoes, excepting for washing and mending, which for the most part were done out of the house, and their bills have not yet been received -- and these are all and more than all the ways by which money necessarily goes out in this part of the world -- were House ................................. $ 28.12+ Farm one year ........................... 14.72+ Food eight months ....................... 8.74 Clothing, etc., eight months ............ 8.40-3/4 Oil, etc., eight months ................. 2.00 ----------In all ............................ $ 61.99-3/4 I address myself now to those of my readers who have a living to get. And to meet this I have for farm produce sold $ 23.44 Earned by day-labor .................... 13.34 ------In all ............................ $ 36.78, which subtracted from the sum of the outgoes leaves a balance of $25.21 3/4 on the one side -- this being very nearly the means with which I started, and the measure of expenses to be incurred -- and on the other, beside the leisure and independence and health thus secured, a comfortable house for me as long as I choose to occupy it. These statistics, however accidental and therefore uninstructive they may appear, as they have a certain completeness, have a certain value also. Nothing was given me of which I have not rendered some account. It appears from the above estimate, that my food alone cost me in money about twenty-seven cents a week. It was, for nearly two years after this, rye and Indian meal without yeast, potatoes, rice, a very little salt pork, molasses, and salt; and my drink, water. It was fit that I should live on rice, mainly, who love so well the philosophy of India. To meet the objections of some inveterate cavillers, I may as well state, that if I dined out occasionally, as I always had done, and I trust shall have opportunities to do again, it was frequently to the detriment of my domestic arrangements. But the dining out, being, as I have stated, a constant element, does not in the least affect a comparative statement like this. I learned from my two years' experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one's necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted. I give the Latin on account of the savoriness of the trivial name. And pray what more can a reasonable man desire, in peaceful times, in ordinary noons, than a sufficient number of ears of green sweet corn boiled, with the addition of salt? Even the little

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variety which I used was a yielding to the demands of appetite, and not of health. Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not for want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries; and I know a good woman who thinks that her son lost his life because he took to drinking water only. The reader will perceive that I am treating the subject rather from an economic than a dietetic point of view, and he will not venture to put my abstemiousness to the test unless he has a well-stocked larder. Bread I at first made of pure Indian meal and salt, genuine hoe-cakes, which I baked before my fire out of doors on a shingle or the end of a stick of timber sawed off in building my house; but it was wont to get smoked and to have a piny flavor, I tried flour also; but have at last found a mixture of rye and Indian meal most convenient and agreeable. In cold weather it was no little amusement to bake several small loaves of this in succession, tending and turning them as carefully as an Egyptian his hatching eggs. They were a real cereal fruit which I ripened, and they had to my senses a fragrance like that of other noble fruits, which I kept in as long as possible by wrapping them in cloths. I made a study of the ancient and indispensable art of bread-making, consulting such authorities as offered, going back to the primitive days and first invention of the unleavened kind, when from the wildness of nuts and meats men first reached the mildness and refinement of this diet, and travelling gradually down in my studies through that accidental souring of the dough which, it is supposed, taught the leavening process, and through the various fermentations thereafter, till I came to "good, sweet, wholesome bread," the staff of life. Leaven, which some deem the soul of bread, the spiritus which fills its cellular tissue, which is religiously preserved like the vestal fire -- some precious bottleful, I suppose, first brought over in the Mayflower, did the business for America, and its influence is still rising, swelling, spreading, in cerealian billows over the land -- this seed I regularly and faithfully procured from the village, till at length one morning I forgot the rules, and scalded my yeast; by which accident I discovered that even this was not indispensable -- for my discoveries were not by the synthetic but analytic process -- and I have gladly omitted it since, though most housewives earnestly assured me that safe and wholesome bread without yeast might not be, and elderly people prophesied a speedy decay of the vital forces. Yet I find it not to be an essential ingredient, and after going without it for a year am still in the land of the living; and I am glad to escape the trivialness of carrying a bottleful in my pocket, which would sometimes pop and discharge its contents to my discomfiture. It is simpler and more respectable to omit it. Man is an animal who more than any other can adapt himself to all climates and circumstances. Neither did I put any sal-soda, or other acid or alkali, into my bread. It would seem that I made it according to the recipe which Marcus Porcius Cato gave about two centuries before Christ. "Panem depsticium sic facito. Manus mortariumque bene lavato. Farinam in mortarium indito, aquae paulatim addito, subigitoque pulchre. Ubi bene subegeris, defingito, coquitoque sub testu." Which I take to mean, -- "Make kneaded bread thus. Wash your hands and trough well. Put the meal into the trough, add water gradually, and knead it thoroughly. When you have kneaded it well, mould it, and bake it under a cover," that is, in a baking kettle. Not a word about leaven. But I did not always use this staff of life. At one time, owing to the emptiness of my purse, I saw none of it for more than a month. Every New Englander might easily raise all his own breadstuffs in this land of rye and Indian corn, and not depend on distant and fluctuating markets for them. Yet so far are we from simplicity and independence that, in Concord, fresh and sweet meal is rarely sold in the shops, and hominy and corn in a still coarser form are hardly used by any. For the most part the farmer gives to his cattle and hogs the grain of his own producing, and buys flour, which is at least no more wholesome, at a greater cost, at the store. I saw that I could easily raise my bushel or two of rye and Indian corn, for the former will grow on the poorest land, and the latter does not require the best, and grind them in a hand-mill, and so do without rice and pork; and if I must have some concentrated sweet, I found by experiment that I could make a very good molasses either of pumpkins or beets, and I knew that I needed only to set out a few maples to obtain it more easily still, and while these were growing I could use various substitutes beside those which I have named. "For," as the Forefathers sang,-"we can make liquor to sweeten our lips Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips."

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Finally, as for salt, that grossest of groceries, to obtain this might be a fit occasion for a visit to the seashore, or, if I did without it altogether, I should probably drink the less water. I do not learn that the Indians ever troubled themselves to go after it. Thus I could avoid all trade and barter, so far as my food was concerned, and having a shelter already, it would only remain to get clothing and fuel. The pantaloons which I now wear were woven in a farmer's family -- thank Heaven there is so much virtue still in man; for I think the fall from the farmer to the operative as great and memorable as that from the man to the farmer; -- and in a new country, fuel is an encumbrance. As for a habitat, if I were not permitted still to squat, I might purchase one acre at the same price for which the land I cultivated was sold -- namely, eight dollars and eight cents. But as it was, I considered that I enhanced the value of the land by squatting on it. There is a certain class of unbelievers who sometimes ask me such questions as, if I think that I can live on vegetable food alone; and to strike at the root of the matter at once -- for the root is faith -- I am accustomed to answer such, that I can live on board nails. If they cannot understand that, they cannot understand much that I have to say. For my part, I am glad to bear of experiments of this kind being tried; as that a young man tried for a fortnight to live on hard, raw corn on the ear, using his teeth for all mortar. The squirrel tribe tried the same and succeeded. The human race is interested in these experiments, though a few old women who are incapacitated for them, or who own their thirds in mills, may be alarmed. My furniture, part of which I made myself -- and the rest cost me nothing of which I have not rendered an account -- consisted of a bed, a table, a desk, three chairs, a looking-glass three inches in diameter, a pair of tongs and andirons, a kettle, a skillet, and a frying-pan, a dipper, a wash-bowl, two knives and forks, three plates, one cup, one spoon, a jug for oil, a jug for molasses, and a japanned lamp. None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin. That is shiftlessness. There is a plenty of such chairs as I like best in the village garrets to be had for taking them away. Furniture! Thank God, I can sit and I can stand without the aid of a furniture warehouse. What man but a philosopher would not be ashamed to see his furniture packed in a cart and going up country exposed to the light of heaven and the eyes of men, a beggarly account of empty boxes? That is Spaulding's furniture. I could never tell from inspecting such a load whether it belonged to a so-called rich man or a poor one; the owner always seemed poverty-stricken. Indeed, the more you have of such things the poorer you are. Each load looks as if it contained the contents of a dozen shanties; and if one shanty is poor, this is a dozen times as poor. Pray, for what do we move ever but to get rid of our furniture, our exuvioe: at last to go from this world to another newly furnished, and leave this to be burned? It is the same as if all these traps were buckled to a man's belt, and he could not move over the rough country where our lines are cast without dragging them -- dragging his trap. He was a lucky fox that left his tail in the trap. The muskrat will gnaw his third leg off to be free. No wonder man has lost his elasticity. How often he is at a dead set! "Sir, if I may be so bold, what do you mean by a dead set?" If you are a seer, whenever you meet a man you will see all that he owns, ay, and much that he pretends to disown, behind him, even to his kitchen furniture and all the trumpery which he saves and will not burn, and he will appear to be harnessed to it and making what headway he can. I think that the man is at a dead set who has got through a knot-hole or gateway where his sledge load of furniture cannot follow him. I cannot but feel compassion when I hear some trig, compact-looking man, seemingly free, all girded and ready, speak of his "furniture," as whether it is insured or not. "But what shall I do with my furniture?" -- My gay butterfly is entangled in a spider's web then. Even those who seem for a long while not to have any, if you inquire more narrowly you will find have some stored in somebody's barn. I look upon England today as an old gentleman who is travelling with a great deal of baggage, trumpery which has accumulated from long housekeeping, which he has not the courage to burn; great trunk, little trunk, bandbox, and bundle. Throw away the first three at least. It would surpass the powers of a well man nowadays to take up his bed and walk, and I should certainly advise a sick one to lay down his bed and run. When I have met an immigrant tottering under a bundle which contained his all -- looking like an enormous wen which had grown out of the nape of his neck -- I have pitied him, not because that was his all, but because he had all that to carry. If I have got to drag my trap, I will take care that it be a light one and do not nip me in a vital part. But perchance it would be wisest never to put one's paw into it.

Would it not be well if we were to celebrate such a "busk. and I lost my time into the bargain. and the whole town of their filth. and dance and sing for three days. A lady once offered me a mat. to my income. accordingly.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 33 I would observe. for they at least go through the semblance of casting their slough annually. that it costs me nothing for curtains. I declined it. or rather out of proportion. from whence every habitation in the town is supplied with the new and pure flame. which with all the remaining grain and other old provisions they cast together into one common heap. sweep and cleanse their houses. I could meet all the expenses of living. Not long since I was present at the auction of a deacon's effects. they collect all their worn out clothes and other despicable things. and I am willing that they should look in. and fasted for three days." than this. I have thoroughly tried school-keeping. During this fast they abstain from the gratification of every appetite and passion whatever. I had free and clear for study. and other household utensils and furniture. For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands. when they will start again. there was an auction. I have tried trade but I found that it would take ten years to get under way in that. that is. by the way. "having previously provided themselves with new clothes. After having taken medicine." As usual. all the fire in the town is extinguished. and consume it with fire. The whole of my winters. And now. I was actually afraid that I might by that time be doing what is called a good business. and carefully transported them to their garrets and dust holes. for I was obliged to dress and train. squares. and if he is sometimes too warm a friend. As I did not teach for the good of my fellow-men." "On the fourth morning. and I have no doubt that they were originally inspired directly from Heaven to do thus. a great proportion was trumpery which had begun to accumulate in his father's day. nor time to spare within or without to shake it. new pots." as Bartram describes to have been the custom of the Mucclasse Indians? "When a town celebrates the busk. whether they have the reality or not. or purifying destruction of them. to lie there till their estates are settled. preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door." says he. after lying half a century in his garret and other dust holes." or "feast of first fruits. these things were not burned. the high priest. as well as most of my summers. A general amnesty is proclaimed. and found that my expenses were in proportion. though they have no Biblical record of the revelation. perchance. produces new fire in the public square. instead of a bonfire. "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. as the dictionary defines it. When a man dies he kicks the dust. I find it still better economy to retreat behind some curtain which nature has provided. this was a failure. be profitably imitated by us. The moon will not sour milk nor taint meat of mine. bought them all. and that then I should probably be on my way to the devil. When formerly I was looking . "and the four following days they receive visits and rejoice with their friends from neighboring towns who have in like manner purified and prepared themselves. in the belief that it was time for the world to come to an end. all malefactors may return to their town. than to add a single item to the details of housekeeping. for I have no gazers to shut out but the sun and moon. by working about six weeks in a year. they have the idea of the thing." The Mexicans also practised a similar purification at the end of every fifty-two years. but simply for a livelihood." They then feast on the new corn and fruits. for his life had not been ineffectual:-"The evil that men do lives after them. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil. Among the rest was a dried tapeworm. The customs of some savage nations might. pans. but as I had no room to spare within the house. by rubbing dry wood together. I have scarcely heard of a truer sacrament. not to say think and believe. and I found that. The neighbors eagerly collected to view them. nor will the sun injure my furniture or fade my carpet. or increasing of them.

especially as it required only thirty or forty days in a year to support one. and though you trade in messages from heaven.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 34 about to see what I could do for a living. only let him not be hindered from doing that which he tells me he would like to do. I am convinced. In short. I thought often and seriously of picking huckleberries. but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way. and one wall separate several apartments. I foolishly thought. I preferred the solitary dwelling. As I preferred some things to others. it will commonly be cheaper to build the whole yourself than to convince another of the advantage of the common wall. To co-operate in the highest as well as the lowest sense.for my greatest skill has been to want but little -. and he is then free to devote himself to his chosen pursuit. one cellar underlie. is as if it were not. unless he sweats easier than I do. so. If a man has faith. The laborer's day ends with the going down of the sun. or a house in the Grecian or the Gothic style just yet. I relinquish to them the pursuit.work till they pay for themselves. he will continue to live like the rest of the world. The only co-operation which is commonly possible is exceedingly partial and superficial. independent of his labor. as I could fare hard and yet succeed well. that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime. The youth may build or plant or sail. but we would preserve the true course.so little capital it required. means to get our living together. and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. but . and when you have done this. Moreover. who has inherited some acres. and that other may prove a bad neighbor. beside that before he has fairly learned it I may have found out another for myself. It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow. I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible. as a large house is not proportionally more expensive than a small one. and thereafter carelessly dispose of them. as the pursuits of the simpler nations are still the sports of the more artificial. and also not keep his side in repair. he will co-operate with equal faith everywhere. While my acquaintances went unhesitatingly into trade or the professions. even to the city. must be a thin one. in this case. both by faith and experience. and what little true co-operation there is. They would part at the first interesting crisis in their adventures. since one would not operate at all. that surely I could do. Above all. to be much cheaper. by hay-cart loads. One young man of my acquaintance. I also dreamed that I might gather the wild herbs. and get their free papers. or carry evergreens to such villagers as loved to be reminded of the woods. or perhaps because it keeps them out of worse mischief. Those who would not know what to do with more leisure than they now enjoy. I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account. I contemplated this occupation as most like theirs. if he had the means. if he has not faith. whatever company he is joined to. the one without money. I heard it proposed lately that two young men should travel together over the world. what is true for one is truer still for a thousand. as I have implied. earning his means as he went. has no respite from one end of the year to the other. since one roof may cover. but that is sufficient guidance for all our life. Undoubtedly. We may not arrive at our port within a calculable period. to keep the flocks of Admetus. some sad experience in conforming to the wishes of friends being fresh in my mind to tax my ingenuity. but his employer. But for my part. so little distraction from my wonted moods. who speculates from month to month. It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise. For myself I found that the occupation of a day-laborer was the most independent of any. It was easy to see that they could not long be companions or co-operate. and who know how to use them when acquired. Some are "industrious. If there are any to whom it is no interruption to acquire these things. before the mast and behind the plow." and appear to love labor for its own sake. or delicate cookery. But I have since learned that trade curses everything it handles. being a harmony inaudible to men. as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye. to such I have at present nothing to say. I did not wish to spend my time in earning rich carpets or other fine furniture. the common partition. told me that he thought he should live as I did. ranging the hills all summer to pick the berries which came in my way. the other carrying a bill of exchange in his pocket. the man who goes alone can start today. for. and especially valued my freedom. and its small profits might suffice -. I might advise to work twice as hard as they do -. if we will live simply and wisely. the whole curse of trade attaches to the business.

Being superior to physical suffering. I have heard some of my townsmen say.I do not hesitate to say that I should be a capital fellow to hire. While my townsmen and women are devoted in so many ways to the good of their fellows. Howard was no doubt an exceedingly kind and worthy man in his way. am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. and lay their Heaven under an obligation by maintaining certain poor persons in all respects as comfortably as I maintain myself. However. and scorched the surface of the earth. no doubt many of my readers would make a similar defence. and the sun. but what that is. peeping in at every cottage window. and to him who does this work. or rather. when I have thought to indulge myself in this respect. I should say rather. I should run for my life. I confess that I have hitherto indulged very little in philanthropic enterprises. carrion. it sometimes chanced that they were superior to any consolation which the missionaries could offer. and has his reward. it is divine. I would say. instead of steadily increasing his genial heat and beneficence till he is of such brightness that no mortal can look him in the face. as from that dry and parching wind of the African deserts called the simoom. as it is most likely they will. which I decline. When Phaeton. No -. had the sun's chariot but one day. doing it good. and for the most part wholly unintended. the world going about him getting good. You must have a genius for charity as well as for anything else. But I would not stand between any man and his genius. what are a hundred Howards to us.I will not engage that my neighbors shall pronounce it good -. 35 But all this is very selfish. if their philanthropy do not help us in our best estate. or warm me if I should be freezing. being burned at the stake. and with kindness aforethought go about doing good. and drove out of the beaten track. and. suggested new modes of torture to their tormentors. as a truer philosophy has discovered. through grief at his death. and I believe that a like but infinitely greater steadfastness elsewhere is all that now preserves it. but. and then. Philanthropy is not love for one's fellow-man in the broadest sense. and making darkness visible. comparatively speaking. Persevere. and among others have sacrificed this pleasure also. Moreover. practically. If I were to preach at all in this strain. they have one and all unhesitatingly preferred to remain poor. I have made some sacrifices to a sense of duty.for the devil finds employment for the idle -. As for Doing-good. At doing something -. I am far from supposing that my case is a peculiar one. and made the great desert of Sahara. The Jesuits were quite balked by those Indians who. without aiming mainly to become of more worth. There are those who have used all their arts to persuade me to undertake the support of some poor family in the town. I trust that one at least may be spared to other and less humane pursuits. which fills the mouth and nose and ears and eyes with dust till you are suffocated. wishing to prove his heavenly birth by his beneficence. to save the universe from annihilation. for fear that I should get some of his good done to me -. and tainting meats. even if the world call it doing evil. with his whole heart and soul and life. and dried up every spring. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good. A man is not a good man to me because he will feed me if I should be starving. I can find you a Newfoundland dog that will do as much. Begin where you are and such as you are.some of its virus mingled with my blood. Set about being good. going about the world in his own orbit. when we are most worthy to be helped? I never heard of a philanthropic meeting in which it was sincerely proposed to do any good to me. and go about like a Robin Goodfellow. Probably I should not consciously and deliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands of me. and in the meanwhile too. did not shine for a year. it is for my employer to find out. or the like of me. As if the sun should stop when he had kindled his fires up to the splendor of a moon or a star of the sixth magnitude. inspiring lunatics. in the common sense of that word.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. and it may be a long time before they get off. and have even ventured so far as to make them the offer. that is one of the professions which are full. It is human.in this case I would rather suffer evil the natural way. What good I do. I have tried it fairly. There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted.I might try my hand at some such pastime as that. till at length Jupiter hurled him headlong to the earth with a thunderbolt. must be aside from my main path. or pull me out of a ditch if I should ever fall into one. he burned several blocks of houses in the lower streets of heaven. and the law to do as you would be done by fell with . strange as it may seem. and if I had nothing to do -. Men say.

in such mean and ragged clothes. I was wont to pity the clumsy Irish laborers who cut ice on the pond. he had so many intra ones. as the greatest of the great. Every one must feel the falsehood and cant of this. Fry. Milton. to his eyes. his stem and leaves.he forthwith sets about reforming -. I never dreamed . one bitter cold day. Howard. The philanthropist too often surrounds mankind with the remembrance of his own castoff griefs as an atmosphere. We should impart our courage. and Mrs. because. no doubt. and embraces the populous Indian and Chinese villages. praised a fellow-townsman to me. our health and ease. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday's liberty for the rest. the globe acquires a faint blush on one or both of its cheeks. perhaps. and not merely his misfortune. and do not merely abandon it to them. Shakespeare. and take care that this does not spread by contagion. it is greatly overrated. though they were dirty and ragged enough. Being a microcosm himself. he cures himself of his dyspepsia. spend yourself with it. but a constant superfluity. This is a charity that hides a multitude of sins. or to the remissness of the officers of justice? Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. he discovers -. literary. and not our disease. Those plants of whose greenness withered we make herb tea for the sick serve but a humble use. whom.the world. and thus. We make curious mistakes sometimes. They were Penn. Then I began to pity myself. a man of learning and intelligence. and straightway his drastic philanthropy seeks out the Esquimau and the Patagonian. A robust poor man. as it were. and some ripeness flavor our intercourse. as if his profession required it of him. which costs him nothing and of which he is unconscious. and came very near freely forgiving them all they did. and done with it. Nay. till. in fact. Bacon. and that he could afford to refuse the extra garments which I offered him. I want the flower and fruit of a man. but merely demand justice for all who by their lives and works are a blessing to mankind. Cromwell. and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. who loved their enemies after a new fashion. if he have a pain in his bowels even -.that the world has been eating green apples. 36 Be sure that you give the poor the aid they most need.for that is the seat of sympathy -. Is this owing to the generosity of him in whose possession it is found. There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. her best philanthropists. It is partly his taste. the globe itself is a great green apple. Newton. Society recovers only a tenth part of the property then. and political worthies. for their part. so that he does not perform his functions. one who had slipped into the water came to my house to warm him. he was kind to the poor. and others. as if it were beginning to be ripe. maybe you should spend the nine tenths so. one sunny day here in Concord. only. and calls it sympathy. If you give him money. which are. Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. he will perhaps buy more rags with it. though it be your example which leaves them far behind. and it is our selfishness which overrates it. I do not value chiefly a man's uprightness and benevolence. that some fragrance be wafted over from him to me. while I shivered in my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments. I once heard a reverend lecturer on England. and I saw that it would be a greater charity to bestow on me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shop on him. The last were not England's best men and women. and I saw him strip off three pairs of pants and two pairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin. after enumerating her scientific. and are most employed by quacks. If you give money. did not care how they were done by. meaning himself. the powers in the meanwhile using him for their own ends. by a few years of philanthropic activity. From what southern plains comes up the voice of wailing? Under what latitudes reside the heathen to whom we would send light? Who is that intemperate and brutal man whom we would redeem? If anything ail a man. and he is the man to make it -. which there is danger awful to think of that the children of men will nibble before it is ripe. The kind uncles and aunts of the race are more esteemed than its true spiritual fathers and mothers. I would not subtract anything from the praise that is due to philanthropy. speak next of her Christian heroes.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor less persuasiveness on the ears of those who.and it is a true discovery. he elevated to a place far above all the rest. as he said. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there? You boast of spending a tenth part of your income in charity. His goodness must not be a partial and transitory act. it is true. and not our despair. This ducking was the very thing he needed. and life loses its crudity and is once more sweet and wholesome to live.

let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves.Fix not thy heart on that which is transitory. saying: Of the many celebrated trees which the Most High God has created lofty and umbrageous. all disease and failure helps to make me sad and does me evil. -. or free. If you should ever be betrayed into any of these philanthropies. be liberal as the date tree. One would say that even the prophets and redeemers had rather consoled the fears than confirmed the hopes of man. is his private ail. will continue to flow through Bagdad after the race of caliphs is extinct: if thy hand has plenty. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor. dispel the clouds which hang over our own brows. but if it affords nothing to give away. the morning rise over his couch. do not let your left hand know what your right hand does. I read in the Gulistan. where thy right hand. but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world. like the cypress. of Sheik Sadi of Shiraz. Degradeth nature. for it is not worth knowing. Take your time. Our hymn-books resound with a melodious cursing of God and enduring Him forever. Each has its appropriate produce. Tearing those humane passions from the mind. If. Let this be righted. they call none azad. or natural means. but. or religious independents. To claim a station in the firmament Because thy humble cottage. Our manners have been corrupted by communication with the saints. and appointed season. and during their absence dry and withered. Rescue the drowning and tie your shoestrings. and he will forsake his generous companions without apology. what mystery is there in this? He replied. that "they asked a wise man. any memorable praise of God. I never knew. though there are things enough I have chewed which I could lecture against. during the continuance of which it is fresh and blooming. excepting the cypress. a worse man than myself. we would indeed restore mankind by truly Indian. With roots and pot-herbs. poor needy wretch. though he be the holiest son of God. magnetic. or free man. Upon whose stocks fair blooming virtues flourish. and of this nature are the azads. however much sympathy it may have with me or I with it. or Flower Garden. Nurses some lazy or pedantic virtue In the cheap sunshine or by shady springs. and set about some free labor." COMPLEMENTAL VERSES The Pretensions of Poverty Thou dost presume too much. to neither of which states is the cypress exposed. or thy tub. which bears no fruit. for the Dijlah. being always flourishing. that is a penalty which reformed tobacco-chewers have to pay. I believe that what so saddens the reformer is not his sympathy with his fellows in distress. then. All health and success does me good. botanic.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 37 of any enormity greater than I have committed. and take up a little life into our pores. let the spring come to him. and benumbeth sense. however far off and withdrawn it may appear. or Tigris. that I never chewed it. There is nowhere recorded a simple and irrepressible satisfaction with the gift of life. . My excuse for not lecturing against the use of tobacco is. and never shall know. be an azad.

and withdrew when I had enjoyed it long enough. mortgaging it to him in my mind. and that heroic virtue For which antiquity hath left no name. and him too to some extent. and there I did live. a seat? -. which some might have thought too far from the village. The . We not require the dull society Of your necessitated temperance.better if a country seat. for all were to be bought. This experience entitled me to be regarded as a sort of real-estate broker by my friends. Gorgon-like. This low abject brood. I have thus surveyed the country on every side within a dozen miles of where I live. But patterns only. T. And when thou seest the new enlightened sphere. and I knew their price. there I might live. but we advance Such virtues only as admit excess. buffet the winter through. Theseus.cultivated it. Back to thy loath'd cell. All-seeing prudence. a summer and a winter life. even put a higher price on it -. magnanimity That knows no bound. bounteous acts. saw how I could let the years run off. What is a house but a sedes. there I might live. I walked over each farmer's premises.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor And.took everything but a deed of it -. I said. CAREW Where I Lived. but to my eyes the village was too far from it.took his word for his deed. regal magnificence. Or that unnatural stupidity That knows nor joy nor sorrow. leaving him to carry it on. for an hour. tasted his wild apples. discoursed on husbandry with him. I trust. I discovered many a site for a house not likely to be soon improved. and the landscape radiated from me accordingly. such as Hercules. and see the spring come in. Study to know but what those worthies were. Well. That fix their seats in mediocrity. and What I Lived For 38 At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot as the possible site of a house. Become your servile minds. at any price. Achilles. In imagination I have bought all the farms in succession. Brave. for I dearly love to talk -. turns active men to stone. Wherever I sat. took his farm at his price. nor your forc'd Falsely exalted passive fortitude Above the active.

which put such an interval between me and the last occupant. for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. though that was nothing to me.every man has such a wife -. and got all the cream. Old Cato. fallow. With respect to landscapes. and he offered me ten dollars to release him. and seeds.and the only translation I have seen makes sheer nonsense of the passage -."When you think of getting a farm turn it thus in your mind. the most admirable kind of invisible fence. but above all. half a mile from the nearest neighbor. when the house was concealed behind a dense grove of red maples. being. with respect to farming on a large scale -. not to buy greedily. The nearest that I came to actual possession was when I bought the Hollowell place. once for all. cutting down the hollow apple trees. if I could only afford to let it alone. or all together. and left the farmer only the skimmed milk. and collected materials with which to make a wheelbarrow to carry it on or off with. or ten dollars. I found thus that I had been a rich man without any damage to my poverty. skimmed it. "I am monarch of all I survey. before the proprietor finished getting out some rocks. nawed by rabbits. Why. To enjoy these advantages I was ready to carry it on. and had begun to sort my seeds. whose "De Re Rustica" is my "Cultivator. The oftener you go there the .the refusal was all I wanted -but I never got my fingers burned by actual possession. showing what kind of neighbors I should have.I have always cultivated a garden -. or who had a farm. wood-lot. made him a present of ten dollars. to me. I sold him the farm for just what I gave for it. wherever they may place their houses. perchance. to take the world on my shoulders -. through which I heard the house-dog bark. or. milked it. I have no doubt that time discriminates between the good and the bad. and pasture. My imagination carried me so far that I even had the refusal of several farms -. An afternoon sufficed to lay out the land into orchard. the gray color and ruinous state of the house and barn. has fairly impounded it. or rather. for I had carried it far enough. My right there is none to dispute. Now. But I would say to my fellows.was. and I have since annually carried off what it yielded without a wheelbarrow." I have frequently seen a poet withdraw. nor spare your pains to look at it. the hollow and lichen-covered apple trees. I let him keep the ten dollars and the farm too. and. like Atlas. As long as possible live free and uncommitted. I shall be less likely to be disappointed. its bounding on the river. and when at last I shall plant. in short. then. may be sure that they have been anticipated. The real attractions of the Hollowell farm. the recollection I had of it from my earliest voyages up the river. and to decide what fine oaks or pines should be left to stand before the door. But it turned out as I have said. but before the owner gave me a deed of it.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 39 future inhabitants of this region. and separated from the highway by a broad field. and grubbing up some young birches which had sprung up in the pasture. and materials for a wheelbarrow left. and it surpassed my arithmetic to tell. But I retained the landscape. were: its complete retirement. which the owner said protected it by its fogs from frosts in the spring. All that I could say. that I had had my seeds ready. for I knew all the while that it would yield the most abundant crop of the kind I wanted. and the dilapidated fences. and do not think it enough to go round it once.I never heard what compensation he received for that -and do all those things which had no other motive or excuse but that I might pay for it and be unmolested in my possession of it. while the crusty farmer supposed that he had got a few wild apples only. Many think that seeds improve with age." says -. and still had my ten cents. and whence each blasted tree could be seen to the best advantage. the owner does not know it for many years when a poet has put his farm in rhyme. It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail. to speak the truth. However. I had but ten cents in the world. his wife -.changed her mind and wished to keep it. if I was that man who had ten cents. had made any more of his improvements. to be generous. about two miles from the village. and then I let it lie. I was in haste to buy it. as he was not a rich man. having enjoyed the most valuable part of a farm.

1845. The winds which passed over my dwelling were such as sweep over the ridges of mountains. fit to entertain a travelling god. but stream there was none. This was an airy and unplastered cabin. I was not only nearer to some of those which commonly frequent the garden and the orchard. of terrestrial music. and about two miles south of that our only field known to fame. by degrees. while the mists. standing on his roost. was a tent. When first I took up my abode in the woods.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor more it will please you. through a wide indentation in the hills which form the shore there. even in the rainiest weather. was my most distant horizon. half a mile off. that it may please me the more at last. has gone down the stream of time. was a sort of crystallization around me. for the atmosphere within had lost none of its freshness. serenade a villager -. The Harivansa says. both air and water being perfectly still. The very dew seemed to hang upon the trees later into the day than usual. and many others. as the sun arose. but the boat. and this is still rolled up in my garret. full of light and reflections. the poem of creation is uninterrupted. The only house I had been the owner of before. mid-afternoon had all the serenity of evening. As I have said. as on the sides of mountains. I do not propose to write an ode to dejection. without plastering or chimney. From a hill-top near by. I had made some progress toward settling in the world. That . This small lake was of most value as a neighbor in the intervals of a gentle rain-storm in August.the wood thrush. To my imagination it retained throughout the day more or less of this auroral character. so that I fancied that by noon some sweet gum would exude from them. or the Fourth of July. The upright white hewn studs and freshly planed door and window casings gave it a clean and airy look. and the wood thrush sang around. covered with wood. by accident. the veery. but was merely a defence against the rain. and the clear portion of the air above it being. there was a pleasing vista southward across the pond. which I used occasionally when making excursions in the summer. but having caged myself near them. reminding me of a certain house on a mountain which I had visited a year before. if I except a boat. if only to wake my neighbors up. my house was not finished for winter. the water. It was suggestive somewhat as a picture in outlines. The morning wind forever blows. and. for I found myself suddenly neighbor to the birds. but the sky overcast. with wide chinks. the scarlet tanager. Olympus is but the outside of the earth everywhere. which made it cool at night. I did not need to go outdoors to take the air. the walls being of rough. that is. "An abode without birds is like a meat without seasoning. but to those smaller and more thrilling songsters of the forest which never. which. so slightly clad. but I was so low in the woods that the opposite shore. bearing the broken strains. the field sparrow. when its timbers were saturated with dew. A lake like this is never smoother than at such a time. about a mile and a half south of the village of Concord and somewhat higher than it. was on Independence Day. in the midst of an extensive wood between that town and Lincoln. becomes a lower heaven itself so much the more important. shallow and darkened by clouds. With this more substantial shelter about me. and here and there. for convenience putting the experience of two years into one. began to spend my nights as well as days there. where their opposite sides sloping toward each other suggested a stream flowing out in that direction through a wooded valley. not by having imprisoned one. its bottom far above the surface of other lakes. when. but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning. weather-stained boards. where the wood had been recently cut off." Such was not my abode. if it is good." I think I shall not buy greedily. as at the breaking up of some nocturnal conventicle. the whip-poor-will. or rarely. 40 The present was my next experiment of this kind. I was seated by the shore of a small pond. its soft ripples or its smooth reflecting surface was revealed. but few are the ears that hear it. like the rest. Concord Battle Ground. which I purpose to describe more at length. and reacted on the builder. and where a goddess might trail her garments. or celestial parts only. For the first week. This frame. like ghosts. but go round and round it as long as I live. especially in the morning. I saw it throwing off its nightly clothing of mist. and be buried in it first. after passing from hand to hand. It was not so much within doors as behind a door where I sat. and was heard from shore to shore. were stealthily withdrawing in every direction into the woods. whenever I looked out on the pond it impressed me like a tarn high up on the side of a mountain.

by standing on tiptoe I could catch a glimpse of some of the peaks of the still bluer and more distant mountain ranges in the northwest. affording ample room for all the roving families of men. at least. One value even of the smallest well is. then I was really there. Then there is least somnolence in us. or at an equal remoteness from the life which I had left behind. I was as much affected by the faint hum of a mosquito making its invisible and unimaginable tour through my apartment at earliest dawn. It was Homer's requiem.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 41 way I looked between and over the near green hills to some distant and higher ones in the horizon. is the awakening hour. with Nature herself. those true-blue coins from heaven's own mint. and I dwelt nearer to those parts of the universe and to those eras in history which had most attracted me. some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night. itself an Iliad and Odyssey in the air. Little is to be expected of that day. which is the most memorable season of the day. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tchingthang to this effect: "Renew thyself completely each day. and again. I did not feel crowded or confined in the least. And held his thoughts as high As were the mounts whereon his flocks Did hourly feed him by. that when you look into it you see that earth is not continent but insular. Indeed." I can understand that. but by the mechanical nudgings of some servitor. to which we are not awakened by our Genius. and I may say innocence. tinged with blue. like a coin in a basin. Such was that part of creation where I had squatted. part of the universe. There was something cosmical about it. If it were worth the while to settle in those parts near to the Pleiades or the Hyades. when his herds required new and larger pastures. "There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon" -said Damodara. but forever new and unprofaned. When I looked across the pond from this peak toward the Sudbury meadows. Both place and time were changed. are not awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within. accompanied by the undulations of . But in other directions. There was pasture enough for my imagination. It is well to have some water in your neighborhood. This is as important as that it keeps butter cool. and one of the best things which I did. and forever again. far from noise and disturbance. I could not see over or beyond the woods which surrounded me. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. and also of some portion of the village. that was a religious exercise. I got up early and bathed in the pond. till forbidden. We are wont to imagine rare and delectable places in some remote and more celestial corner of the system. singing its own wrath and wanderings. The morning. Though the view from my door was still more contracted. behind the constellation of Cassiopeia's Chair. all the earth beyond the pond appeared like a thin crust insulated and floated even by this small sheet of interverting water. if it can be called a day. as I could be by any trumpet that ever sang of fame." What should we think of the shepherd's life if his flocks always wandered to higher pastures than his thoughts? Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity. even from this point. dwindled and twinkling with as fine a ray to my nearest neighbor. and to be seen only in moonless nights by him. Morning brings back the heroic ages. "There was a shepherd that did live. Where I lived was as far off as many a region viewed nightly by astronomers. and I was reminded that this on which I dwelt was but dry land. and for an hour. of the everlasting vigor and fertility of the world. when I was sitting with door and windows open. to give buoyancy to and float the earth. a standing advertisement. do it again. The low shrub oak plateau to which the opposite shore arose stretched away toward the prairies of the West and the steppes of Tartary. to Aldebaran or Altair. which in time of flood I distinguished elevated perhaps by a mirage in their seething valley. I discovered that my house actually had its site in such a withdrawn.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 42 celestial music. and is pursuing a descending and darkening way. whether it is of the devil or of God. and clout upon clout. and. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. that is the highest of arts. Instead of three meals a day. if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers. with its boundary forever fluctuating. worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. it is error upon error. and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. and reduce other things in proportion. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. Simplify. they would have performed something. the day is a perpetual morning. and his Genius tries again what noble life it can make. and reduce it to its lowest terms. and publish its meanness to the world. that a man has to live. cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps. Simplicity. as the million households in the land. or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life. like ants. five. are reinvigorated each day. living is so dear. After a partial cessation of his sensuous life. not by mechanical aids. Our life is like a German Confederacy. or to carve a statue. All memorable events. so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment. and not a hundred or a thousand. by the way are all external and superficial. and a fragrance filling the air -. and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever. and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. if it proved to be mean. and the fairest and most memorable of the actions of men. as for ." Still we live meanly. and lump the rest. let your affairs be as two or three. is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment. Every man is tasked to make his life. to know it by experience. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done. like Memnon. instead of a hundred dishes. or rather used up. transpire in morning time and in a morning atmosphere. and prove itself to be good. The Vedas say. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. which. to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life. are in a strange uncertainty about it. or if it were sublime. no less than the light. To affect the quality of the day. I did not wish to live what was not life. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for. nor did I wish to practise resignation. to cut a broad swath and shave close. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness. when I came to die. like pygmies we fight with cranes. and so to make a few objects beautiful. even in its details. How could I have looked him in the face? We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake.to a higher life than we fell asleep from. and auroral hour than he has yet profaned. and emit their music at sunrise. If we refused. Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. to front only the essential facts of life. but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion. why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. to drive life into a corner. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture. by dead reckoning. To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun. To be awake is to be alive. if it be necessary eat but one. but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. Our life is frittered away by detail. and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness. by want of calculation and a worthy aim. has despaired of life. date from such an hour. "All intelligences awake with the morning. such paltry information as we get. the soul of man. For most men. but by an infinite expectation of the dawn. simplify. and thus the darkness bear its fruit. The nation itself. instead of a million count half a dozen. I should say. more sacred. and the only cure for it. and see if I could not learn what it had to teach. though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men. discover that I had not lived. simplicity." Poetry and art. or its organs rather. I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier. simplicity! I say. ruined by luxury and heedless expense. it appears to me. are the children of Aurora. with all its so-called internal improvements. made up of petty states. unless it was quite necessary. which morally we can do. and not. instead of factory bells. All poets and heroes. The millions are awake enough for physical labor.

as I hear. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine. and they are covered with sand. If we do not get out sleepers. and talk through a telegraph. even if it were the parish church itself. you never need attend to that . but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks. One is enough. As for Spain. is in a rigid economy. is a little uncertain. And when they run over a man that is walking in his sleep. but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them. There was such a rush. there is hardly a man on his farm in the outskirts of Concord. or one house burned. an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. it will be true to the letter. and wake him up.that were worth the postage. I am glad to know that it takes a gang of men for every five miles to keep the sleepers down and level in their beds as it is. And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. commonly. or one mad dog killed. I never received more than one or two letters in my life -. and the cars run smoothly over them. I think that there are very few important communications made through it. but whether we should live like baboons or like men.and he reads it over his coffee and rolls. since burn it must. and if you have learned the history of her crops for an average year. we haven't any of any consequence. others have the misfortune to be ridden upon. or twelve years. and we. If I should only give a few pulls at the parish bell-rope. nor a woman. much more to see it burn. After a night's sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. and devote days and nights to the work. if we will confess the truth. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour. or a Yankee man. or murdered. who will build railroads? And if railroads are not built. I might almost say. almost the last significant scrap of news from that quarter was the revolution of 1649. is gossip. To speak critically. doubtless for no other purpose. as if this were an exception. that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River. for this is a sign that they may sometime get up again. and export ice. "What's the news?" as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. It lives too fast. and Don Pedro and Seville and Granada. And every few years a new lot is laid down and run over. how shall we get to heaven in season? But if we stay at home and mind our business.or to see it put out. a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose. never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world. a supernumerary sleeper in the wrong position. not mainly to save property from the flames. but. for instance. so that. and cannot possibly keep our heads still. the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival. that is. did not set it on fire -. beforehand with sufficient accuracy. if that is done as handsomely. Did you ever think what those sleepers are that underlie the railroad? Each one is a man. or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter -we never need read of another. and give us as good an idea of the exact state or ruin of things in Spain as the most succinct and lucid reports under this head in the newspapers: and as for England. be it known. as for a fire. If you are acquainted with the principle.they may have changed the names a little since I saw the papers -and serve up a bull-fight when other entertainments fail. For my part. As for work.I wrote this some years ago -. who will want railroads? We do not ride on the railroad. The rails are laid on them. or one steamboat blown up. Men think that it is essential that the Nation have commerce. from time to time in the right proportions -. or one vessel wrecked. what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news. I assure you. and make a hue and cry about it. or one cow run over on the Western Railroad. yes. that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure -. I could easily do without the post-office.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 43 them. they suddenly stop the cars. if some have the pleasure of riding on a rail. and so they take a thousand stitches today to save nine tomorrow. and have a hand in it. They are sound sleepers. it rides upon us. Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. and then. if you know how to throw in Don Carlos and the Infanta. an Irishman. The penny-post is. "Pray tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe" -. We have the Saint Vitus' dance. If we read of one man robbed. as it is called. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip.news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelve-month. to pay for it. and ride thirty miles an hour. and has but the rudiment of an eye himself. without setting the bell. and forge rails. they tell what they have dreamed. without a doubt. but would forsake all and follow that sound. nor a boy. notwithstanding that press of engagements which was his excuse so many times this morning. whether they do or not. Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner. and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. or killed by accident.

and questioned him in these terms: What is your master doing? The messenger answered with respect: My master desires to diminish the number of his faults. who. music and poetry would resound along the streets. that is. and prejudice. and delusion. or break fast. and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails.for Sunday is the fit conclusion of an ill-spent week. before Adam and after the last man. Let us settle ourselves. If a man should walk through this town and see only the reality. life. the track is laid for us. the philosopher remarked: What a worthy messenger! What a worthy messenger!" The preacher. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner. by failure. gently and without perturbation. and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion. let company come and let company go.determined to make a day of it. was brought up by a forester. in the outskirts of the system. "from the circumstances in which it is placed. Khoung-tseu caused the messenger to be seated near him. why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Children. If one may judge who rarely looks into the newspapers. should shout with thundering voice. sail by it. being expelled in infancy from his native city. discern its true law and relations more clearly than men. Men esteem truth remote. So soul. who fail to live it worthily. through Paris and London. would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. while reality is fabulous. for the rest of the way is down hill. situated in the meridian shallows. we should not recognize the place in his description. think you. growing up to maturity in that state. looking another way. The messenger being gone. until the truth is revealed to it by some holy teacher. that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality. and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages. We think that that is which appears to be. or a court-house. and then it knows itself to be Brahme. And we are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality that surrounds us. unless your speculations are of a merely pecuniary character. let the bells ring and the children cry -. The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions. mistakes its own character. nothing new does ever happen in foreign parts. Weather this danger and you are safe. whether we travel fast or slow. men establish and confirm their daily life of routine and habit everywhere. or a dwelling-house. behind the farthest star. and consenting to be deceived by shows. tied to the mast like Ulysses. that alluvion which covers the globe. with morning vigor. I have read in a Hindoo book. instead of vexing the ears of drowsy farmers on their day of rest at the end of the week -. One of his father's ministers having discovered him. or a jail. "Pause! Avast! Why so seeming fast. but who think that they are wiser by experience. to compare it with such things as we know. that "there was a king's son. or a shop. Look at a meeting-house. If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be. With unrelaxed nerves. imagined himself to belong to the barbarous race with which he lived. What news! how much more important to know what that is which was never old! "Kieou-he-yu (great dignitary of the state of Wei) sent a man to Khoung-tseu to know his news. Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature. and not allow themselves to be deluded. If men would steadily observe realities only. and they would all go to pieces in your account of them. The poet or the artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it. God himself culminates in the present moment. If the bell rings. a French revolution not excepted. Let us rise early and fast. and he knew himself to be a prince. and not the fresh and brave beginning of a new one -. but he cannot come to the end of them. Let us spend our lives in conceiving then." I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things. would the "Mill-dam" go to? If he should give us an account of the realities he beheld there. who play life. which still is built on purely illusory foundations. and appearance. but deadly slow?" Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths. through New York . When we are unhurried and wise. By closing the eyes and slumbering. In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime.with this one other draggle-tail of a sermon. and say what that thing really is before a true gaze. we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. and tradition.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 44 thing again. and the misconception of his character was removed. This is always exhilarating and sublime. revealed to him what he was. let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the engine whistles. where. and." continues the Hindoo philosopher.

and I asked where it was then that I lived. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts. I have had this advantage in books. for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike. Its thin current slides away. That time which we really improve. as if it were a cimeter. at first. through Church and State. will always be in a language dead to degenerate times. so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge. than a university. and are now merely copied from time to time on to linen paper. if we are alive. not only to thought. whose bottom is pebbly with stars. It is worth the expense of youthful days and costly hours. I cannot count one. conjecturing a larger sense than common use permits out of what wisdom and valor and generosity we have. The student may read Homer or AEschylus in the Greek without danger of dissipation or luxuriousness. but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. has done little to bring us nearer to the heroic writers of antiquity. and the letter in which they are printed as rare and curious. through poetry and philosophy and religion. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. Be it life or death. and consecrate morning hours to their pages. which we can call reality. It is not in vain that the farmer . No dust has settled on that robe. In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity. though I looked at his page only now and then. If we are really dying. The heroic books. is neither past. whose sentences were first written on bark. below freshet and frost and fire. and then begin. but to serious reading. I have experienced this pleasure when I have drunk the liquor of the esoteric doctrines. but a Realometer. let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities. present. and need fear no change nor accident. To be intoxicated by a single glass of wine. you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces. I had more than ever come within the influence of those books which circulate round the world. that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. we crave only reality. and we must laboriously seek the meaning of each word and line. Yet I sustained myself by the prospect of such reading in future.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 45 and Boston and Concord. to be perpetual suggestions and provocations. we are mortal. They seem as solitary. as some creatures use their snout and fore paws. a place where you might found a wall or a state. This is. in founding a family or a state. My head is hands and feet. and here I will begin to mine. and I gaze upon as fresh a glory as he did. Says the poet Mr Udd. I would drink deeper. till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place. and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. since it was I in him that was then so bold. or set a lamp-post safely. or acquiring fame even. and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow. which are raised out of the trivialness of the street. and still the trembling robe remains raised. Reading With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits. if you learn only some words of an ancient language." I kept Homer's Iliad on my table through the summer. made more study impossible. I drink at it. till that employment made me ashamed of myself. no time has elapsed since that divinity was revealed. let us go about our business. to run through the region of the spiritual world. Incessant labor with my hands. with all its translations. and no mistake. and it is he in me that now reviews the vision. not a Nilometer. I read one or two shallow books of travel in the intervals of my work. My residence was more favorable. or perhaps a gauge. but in dealing with truth we are immortal. The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity. and though I was beyond the range of the ordinary circulating library. or which is improvable. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact. and say. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. but eternity remains. as ever. for it implies that he in some measure emulate their heroes. it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. The modern cheap and fertile press. "Being seated. fish in the sky. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing. nor future. for I had my house to finish and my beans to hoe at the same time. The intellect is a cleaver. having a point d'appui. even if printed in the character of our mother tongue. all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.

and a few scholars only are still reading it. and scholars were enabled to discern from that remoteness the treasures of antiquity. but be carved out of the breath of life itself. When the illiterate and perhaps scornful trader has earned by enterprise and industry his coveted leisure and independence. to those who can hear him. Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies. They are not exhalations like our daily colloquies and vaporous breath. a dialect merely. a sound.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 46 remembers and repeats the few Latin words which he has heard. Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. It is not enough even to be able to speak the language of that nation by which they are written. The symbol of an ancient man's thought becomes a modern man's speech. and they prized instead a cheap contemporary literature. and there are such answers to the most modern inquiry in them as Delphi and Dodona never gave. is a noble exercise. then first learning revived. No wonder that Alexander carried the Iliad with him on his expeditions in a precious casket. and is sensible only of the imperfection of his culture and the vanity and insufficiency of all his riches. and they who can may read them. -. and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips. The orator yields to the inspiration of a transient occasion. for these were not written in that Greek or Latin which they knew. exert an influence on mankind. and speaks to the mob before him. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent. to all in any age who can understand him. that is. almost brutish. if that is our mother tongue. a reserved and select expression. like the brutes. Books. But when the several nations of Europe had acquired distinct though rude written languages of their own. and is admitted to the circles of wealth and fashion. To read well. However much we may admire the orator's occasional bursts of eloquence. of our mothers. They had not learned the nobler dialects of Greece and Rome. for there is a memorable interval between the spoken and the written language.not be represented on canvas or in marble only. Those who have not learned to read the ancient classics in the language in which they were written must have . and. as to her marbles. for they have carried their own serene and celestial atmosphere into all lands to protect them against the corrosion of time. sufficient for the purposes of their rising literatures. too significant to be heard by the ear. the oldest and the best. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. and we learn it unconsciously. the language heard and the language read. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society. in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. and further proves his good sense by the pains which be takes to secure for his children that intellectual culture whose want he so keenly feels. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. to read true books in a true spirit. stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. the noblest written words are commonly as far behind or above the fleeting spoken language as the firmament with its stars is behind the clouds. but the adventurous student will always study classics. this is our father tongue. after the lapse of ages a few scholars read. which we must be born again in order to speak. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language. The other is the maturity and experience of that. speaks to the intellect and health of mankind. The one is commonly transitory. and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. he turns inevitably at last to those still higher but yet inaccessible circles of intellect and genius. The astronomers forever comment on and observe them. What the Roman and Grecian multitude could not hear. but the writer. and thus it is that he becomes the founder of a family. They have no cause of their own to plead. The crowds of men who merely spoke the Greek and Latin tongues in the Middle Ages were not entitled by the accident of birth to read the works of genius written in those languages. a tongue. We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old. whose more equable life is his occasion. but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. but the very materials on which they were written were waste paper to them. A written word is the choicest of relics. only a maturer golden and autumnal tint. but in the select language of literature. Two thousand summers have imparted to the monuments of Grecian literature. There are the stars. and who would be distracted by the event and the crowd which inspire the orator. For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? They are the only oracles which are not decayed. more than kings or emperors. What is called eloquence in the forum is commonly found to be rhetoric in the study.

as they have learned to cipher in order to keep accounts and not be cheated in trade. the happy novelist rings the bell for all the world to come together and hear. unless our civilization itself may be regarded as such a transcript.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 47 a very imperfect knowledge of the history of the human race. nor Virgil even -. as solidly done." which I thought referred to a town of that name which I had not been to. and finds a surer market. at most astrologically. Homer has never yet been printed in English. and let them swing round there till they are rusty. not astronomically. By such a pile we may hope to scale heaven at last. and perchance have been convicted by the wisdom of one good book. and not be forever repeating our a-b-abs. with Homers and Dantes and Shakespeares. just as some little four-year-old bencher his two-cent gilt-covered edition of Cinderella -. They have only been read as the multitude read the stars. and all the centuries to come shall have successively deposited their trophies in the forum of the world. have rarely. The next time the novelist rings the bell I will not stir though the meeting-house burn down. and not come down at all to bother honest men with their pranks. by the celebrated author of `Tittle-Tol-Tan. Even the college-bred and so-called liberally educated men here and elsewhere have really little or no acquaintance with the English classics. with a very few exceptions. and get up again and go on! how some poor unfortunate got up on to a steeple. no taste for the best or for very good books even in English literature. and for the rest of their lives vegetate and dissipate their faculties in what is called easy reading. a Romance of the Middle Ages. for it is remarkable that no transcript of them has ever been made into any modern tongue. but what we have to stand on tip-toe to read and devote our most alert and wakeful hours to. say what we will of their genius. and words of one syllable. that I can see. The result is dulness of sight. and how they loved as none had ever loved before. Most men have learned to read to serve a paltry convenience. not that which lulls us as a luxury and suffers the nobler faculties to sleep the while. There are those who. the ancient classics and Bibles. which are accessible to all who will know of them. a great rush. and a general deliquium and sloughing off of all the intellectual faculties. and neither did the course of their true love run smooth -. in the fourth or fifth classes. I think that having learned our letters we should read the best that is in literature.at any rate. or emphasis. whose words all can read and spell. and the still older and more than classic but even less known Scriptures of the nations. I know a woodchopper. having needlessly got him up there. nor AEschylus. They read the nine thousandth tale about Zebulon and Sophronia. The works of the great poets have never yet been read by mankind. for only great poets can read them. and as beautiful almost as the morning itself. don't all come together. What does our Concord culture amount to? There is in this town. "The Skip of the Tip-Toe-Hop. the Bible. when the Vaticans shall be filled with Vedas and Zendavestas and Bibles.works as refined. as they used to put heroes among the constellations. There is a work in several volumes in our Circulating Library entitled "Little Reading. they are the machines to read it. and then. This sort of gingerbread is baked daily and more sedulously than pure wheat or rye-and-Indian in almost every oven. for later writers. or any more skill in extracting or inserting the moral. shall have still further accumulated. can digest all sorts of this. even after the fullest dinner of meats and vegetables. whose corrugations even yet need no sharpening. The best books are not read even by those who are called good readers. Most men are satisfied if they read or hear read. It will be soon enough to forget them when we have the learning and the genius which will enable us to attend to and appreciate them. and as for the recorded wisdom of mankind. and with unwearied gizzard. If others are the machines to provide this provender. That age will be rich indeed when those relics which we call Classics. but of reading as a noble intellectual exercise they know little or nothing. for they suffer nothing to be wasted. who had better never have gone up as far as the belfry.without any improvement." All this they read with saucer eyes. like cormorants and ostriches. They only talk of forgetting them who never knew them. a stagnation of the vital circulations. in a high sense. there are the feeblest efforts anywhere made to become acquainted with them. or accent. . O dear! how he did get down again! For my part. sitting on the lowest and foremost form all our lives. I think that they had better metamorphose all such aspiring heroes of universal noveldom into man weather-cocks. how it did run and stumble.' to appear in monthly parts. equalled the elaborate beauty and finish and the lifelong and heroic literary labors of the ancients. if ever. yet this only is reading. in the pronunciation. and erect and primitive curiosity.

according to his ability. being wise. who takes a French paper. and is even said to have invented and established worship among men. and through the liberalizing influence of all the worthies. and has any sympathy to impart to the alert and heroic reader. who has had his second birth and peculiar religious experience. lie on the next shelf. for that will not advance either of us. would be more salutary than the morning or the spring to our lives. by his words and his life. The at present unutterable things we may find somewhere uttered. But consider how little this village does for its own culture.if they are. and is driven as he believes into the silent gravity and exclusiveness by his faith. so well off -. who in this town can tell me even their titles? Most men do not know that any nation but the Hebrews have had a scripture. It is not all books that are as dull as their readers. but must keep silence about it. It is time that we had uncommon schools. and our reading. with leisure -. not one has been omitted. the primers and class-books. whose praises are familiar even to the so-called illiterate. who. he will find nobody at all to speak to. and when I ask him what he considers the best thing he can do in this world.my next neighbor and I never heard him speak or attended to the wisdom of his words. but excepting the half-starved Lyceum in the winter." and story-books.to pursue liberal studies the rest of their lives. We need to be provoked -. into a trot. I do not wish to flatter my townsmen. our conversation and thinking. and each has answered them. We boast that we belong to the Nineteenth Century and are making the most rapid strides of any nation.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 48 of middle age. Or shall I hear the name of Plato and never read his book? As if Plato were my townsman and I never saw him -. Let him humbly commune with Zoroaster then. and treated his neighbors accordingly. -. which are for boys and beginners. will go considerably out of his way to pick up a silver dollar. and latterly the puny beginning of a library suggested by the State. and soar but little higher in our intellectual flights than the columns of the daily paper. but partly by first knowing how good they were. worthy only of pygmies and manikins. and when we leave school. and yet I never read them. I aspire to be acquainted with wiser men than this our Concord soil has produced. The solitary hired man on a farm in the outskirts of Concord. thousands of years ago. It is time that villages were universities. if he has mastered the difficulties of the language.goaded like oxen. nor to be flattered by them. with wisdom we shall learn liberality. We have a comparatively decent system of common schools. beside this. with Jesus Christ himself. knew it to be universal. as we are.and yet we learn to read only as far as Easy Reading. These same questions that disturb and puzzle and confound us have in their turn occurred to all the wise men. which will explain our miracles and reveal new ones. but Zoroaster. and whose worth the wise of every succeeding age have assured us of. Shall the world be confined to one Paris or one Oxford forever? Cannot students be boarded here and get a . there is hardly the professor in our colleges. has proportionally mastered the difficulties of the wit and poetry of a Greek poet. but here are golden words. schools for infants only. We are underbred and low-lived and illiterate. the "Little Reading. and let "our church" go by the board. One who has just come from reading perhaps one of the best English books will find how many with whom he can converse about it? Or suppose he comes from reading a Greek or Latin classic in the original. How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book! The book exists for us. may think it is not true. if we could really hear and understand. travelled the same road and had the same experience. for he is above that. which. are all on a very low level. and in this respect I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my townsman who cannot read at all and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects. We are a race of tit-men. whose names are hardly known here. no school for ourselves. but to "keep himself in practice. But how actually is it? His Dialogues. and their elder inhabitants the fellows of universities. he says. and as for the sacred Scriptures. perchance. and they take an English paper for the purpose. We should be as good as the worthies of antiquity. or Bibles of mankind. which the wisest men of antiquity have uttered. A man. and possibly put a new aspect on the face of things for us. Indeed. We spend more on almost any article of bodily aliment or ailment than on our mental aliment. There are probably words addressed to our condition exactly. to keep up and add to his English. but he. This is about as much as the college-bred generally do or aspire to do." he being a Canadian by birth. that we did not leave off our education when we begin to be men and women. which contain what was immortal in him. not for news as he says. indeed. Moreover. any man.

paintings -.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 49 liberal education under the skies of Concord? Can we not hire some Abelard to lecture to us? Alas! what with foddering the cattle and tending the store.wit -. let us have noble villages of men. for I lived like the Puri Indians. It can spend money enough on such things as farmers and traders value. a sexton. Much is published. so let the village do -. though the most select and classic. Sounds But while we are confined to books. but probably it will not spend so much on living wit. whether of the head or hands. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night. nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock.learning -. Instead of singing like the birds. a parson. The one hundred and twenty-five dollars annually subscribed for a Lyceum in the winter is better spent than any other equal sum raised in the town. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine. but little printed.statuary -. Let the reports of all the learned societies come to us. of whom it is said that "for yesterday. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. or the best society. sitting on the hickory before my door. and three selectmen. It should be the patron of the fine arts. and walk on into futurity. compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader. as our circumstances are more flourishing. see what is before you. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work. while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house. or the most admirable routine of life. in a summer morning. I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune. New England can hire all the wise men in the world to come and teach her. thank fortune or politics. why should we not enjoy the advantages which the Nineteenth Century offers? Why should our life be in any respect provincial? If we will read newspapers. I minded not how the hours went. and I am confident that. so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest. and our education is sadly neglected. For the most part. and lo. and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. bearing the stamp of any heathen deity. That is the uncommon school we want. and the like. I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon. Nay. and we will see if they know anything. To act collectively is according to the spirit of our institutions. and not be provincial at all.philosophical instruments. because our Pilgrim forefathers got through a cold winter once on a bleak rock with these. our means are greater than the nobleman's.not be sucking the pap of "neutral family" papers. to select our reading? As the nobleman of cultivated taste surrounds himself with whatever conduces to his culture -. Why should we leave it to Harper & Brothers and Redding & Co. having taken my accustomed bath. As the sparrow had its trill. and nothing memorable is accomplished. It wants only the magnanimity and refinement. No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. now it is evening. amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs. in a hundred years. but so much over and above my usual allowance.genius -. I was reminded of the lapse of time. we are in danger of forgetting the language which all things and events speak without metaphor. a student merely. but it is thought Utopian to propose spending money for things which more intelligent men know to be of far more worth. omit one bridge over the river. This town has spent seventeen thousand dollars on a town-house. rapt in a revery. If we live in the Nineteenth Century. and tomorrow they have only one word. Sometimes. today. I hoed beans. Instead of noblemen. and throw one arch at least over the darker gulf of ignorance which surrounds us. or a seer? Read your fate. until by the sun falling in at my west window. which alone is copious and standard.music -. a parish library. in undisturbed solitude and stillness. why not skip the gossip of Boston and take the best newspaper in the world at once? -. we are kept from school too long. They were not time subtracted from my life. or browsing "Olive Branches" here in New England. go round a little there. and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday forward . which are themselves but dialects and provincial. If it is necessary. My days were not days of the week. or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway. I love a broad margin to my life. it was morning. the true meat to put into that shell. or poetry. I often did better than this. and board them round the while.books -. The rays which stream through the shutter will be no longer remembered when the shutter is wholly removed. the village should in some respects take the place of the nobleman of Europe. In this country. no matter how well selected.not stop short at a pedagogue. It is rich enough. What is a course of history or philosophy. and read only particular written languages. I did not read books the first summer.

I should not have been found wanting. hawks are circling about my clearing.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 50 for tomorrow. now dying away and then reviving like the beat of a partridge. and by the time the villagers had broken their fast the morning sun had dried my house sufficiently to allow me to move in again. which last. but ere long ran away and came home again. When my floor was dirty. chestnut burs. weighed down with goodsized and handsome cherries. we should never be troubled with ennui. and sprinkled white sand from the pond on it. They seemed glad to get out themselves. the tantivy of wild pigeons. setting all my furniture out of doors on the grass. blueberry and groundnut. to which a narrow footpath led down the hill. it is true. and hear the free wind blow on them. that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel. and half a dozen rods from the pond. In August. was put out to a farmer in the east part of the town. an inch in diameter. standing amid the pines and hickories. in the fall. had attracted many wild bees. and life-everlasting. to society and the theatre. My house was on the side of a hill. and for the last half-hour I have heard the rattle of railroad cars. shrub oaks and sand cherry. and growing five or six feet the first season. For I did not live so out of the world as that boy who. johnswort and goldenrod. and by their weight again bent down and broke the tender limbs. If we were always. a mink steals out of the marsh before my door and seizes a frog by the shore. why. and my three-legged table. developed themselves as by magic into graceful green and tender boughs. Near the end of May. and overhead for the passing day. and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect every hour. our village has become a butt .because they once stood in their midst. blackberry. the sedge is bending under the weight of the reed-birds flitting hither and thither. Follow your genius closely enough. and will hardly reprove his indolence. getting our living. suddenly pushing out late in the spring from dry sticks which had seemed to be dead. fell over in wreaths like rays on every side. Housework was a pleasant pastime. at least. dashed water on the floor. quite down at the heel and homesick. and. I was sometimes tempted to stretch an awning over them and take my seat there. The sumach (Rhus glabra) grew luxuriantly about the house. bed and bedstead making but one budget. in the midst of a young forest of pitch pines and hickories. as I sat at my window. He had never seen such a dull and out-of-the-way place. It was pleasant to see my whole household effects out on the grass. and sometimes. and my meditations were almost uninterupted. chairs. and bedsteads -. In my front yard grew the strawberry. and strawberry leaves are strewn about. as I hear. to tables. I heard a fresh and tender bough suddenly fall like a fan to the ground. pine cones. you couldn't even hear the whistle! I doubt if there is such a place in Massachusetts now:-"In truth. A bird sits on the next bough. in my mode of life. the large masses of berries. which. It looked as if this was the way these forms came to be transferred to our furniture. from which I did not remove the books and pen and ink. the sand cherry (Cerasus pumila) adorned the sides of the path with its delicate flowers arranged in umbels cylindrically about its short stems. gives a voice to the air. when there was not a breath of air stirring. immediately on the edge of the larger wood. a fish hawk dimples the glassy surface of the pond and brings up a fish. life-everlasting grows under the table." This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen. broken off by its own weight. no doubt. and as if unwilling to be brought in. I had this advantage. over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement. flying by two and threes athwart my view. I rose early. A man must find his occasions in himself. and then with a broom scrubbed it clean and white. when in flower. though they were scarcely palatable. making a little pile like a gypsy's pack. I tasted them out of compliment to Nature. and regulating our lives according to the last and best mode we had learned. indeed. It was worth the while to see the sun shine on these things. but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard. and blackberry vines run round its legs. conveying travellers from Boston to the country. As I sit at my window this summer afternoon. so much more interesting most familiar objects look out of doors than in the house. the folks were all gone off. gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue. Its broad pinnate tropical leaf was pleasant though strange to look on. pushing up through the embankment which I had made. The large buds. or perching restless on the white pine boughs behind my house. so heedlessly did they grow and tax their weak joints. It was a drama of many scenes and without an end. The natural day is very calm.

When I meet the engine with its train of cars moving off with planetary motion -. I watch the passage of the morning cars with the same feeling that I do the rising of the sun.Concord. your rations. like a comet. they strap on his snowshoes. but down goes the wit that writes them. it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it. Fire. rather. down goes the woven cloth. If all were as it seems. I too would fain be a track-repairer somewhere in the orbit of the earth. shaking the earth with his feet. and so I am. If the enterprise were as heroic and commanding as it is protracted and unwearied! Far through unfrequented woods on the confines of towns. With such huge and lumbering civility the country hands a chair to the city. I usually go to the village along its causeway. and. then the elements and Nature herself would cheerfully accompany men on their errands and be their escort. where once only the hunter penetrated by day. too. Their train of clouds stretching far behind and rising higher and higher. bow to me as to an old acquaintance. like a following drill-barrow. up comes the silk. Here come your groceries. plow a furrow from the mountains to the seaboard. The stabler of the iron horse was up early this winter morning by the light of the stars amid the mountains. country. in which the cars. when in some remote glen in the woods he fronts the elements incased in ice and snow. or as beneficent as that which floats over the farmer's fields. and men made the elements their servants for noble ends! If the cloud that hangs over the engine were the perspiration of heroic deeds. related to society by this link. they pass me so often. which is hardly more regular. who go over the whole length of the road. sounding like the scream of a hawk sailing over some farmer's yard. for the beholder knows not if with that velocity and with that direction it will ever revisit this system. heard sometimes through the circles of two towns. and o'er Our peaceful plain its soothing sound is -. and he will reach his stall only with the morning star. would ere long take the sunset sky for the livery of his train. sprinkle all the restless men and floating merchandise in the country for seed. as it were." 51 The Fitchburg Railroad touches the pond about a hundred rods south of where I dwell. informing me that many restless city merchants are arriving within the circle of the town. As they come under one horizon.with its steam cloud like a banner streaming behind in golden and silver wreaths. Up comes the cotton. All the Indian huckleberry hills are stripped. The whistle of the locomotive penetrates my woods summer and winter. and am. all the cranberry meadows are raked into the city. stopping only that his master may rest. a celestial train beside which the petty train of cars which hugs the earth is but the barb of the spear. when I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder. that he may calm his nerves and cool his liver and brain for a few hours of iron slumber. was awakened thus early to put the vital heat in him and get him off. to start once more on his travels without rest or slumber. going to heaven while the cars are going to Boston. conceals the sun for a minute and casts my distant field into the shade. I hear him in his stable blowing off the superfluous energy of the day. Or perchance. and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils (what kind of winged horse or fiery dragon they will put into the new Mythology I don't know). up come the books.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor For one of those fleet railroad shafts. unfolding its masses to the light -. timber like long battering-rams going twenty miles an hour against the city's walls. All day the fire-steed flies over the country. in the darkest night dart these bright saloons without the knowledge of their inhabitants. down goes the woollen.or. this moment stopping at . they shout their warning to get off the track to the other. or adventurous country traders from the other side.as if this traveling demigod. this cloud-compeller. The men on the freight trains. high in the heavens. at evening. And here's your pay for them! screams the countryman's whistle. with the giant plow. since its orbit does not look like a returning curve -. countrymen! Nor is there any man so independent on his farm that he can say them nay. like many a downy cloud which I have seen. If the enterprise were as innocent as it is early! If the snow lies deep. to fodder and harness his steed. and apparently they take me for an employee. and I am awakened by his tramp and defiant snort at midnight. and chairs enough to seat all the weary and heavy-laden that dwell within them.

or American prints. no firing over the heads of the mob. and perchance better employed than they could have consciously devised. to wave over the bear. I have been astonished at the miracles it has wrought. second. To do things "railroad fashion" is now the byword. on which.. and tropical climes. the final result of dress -. These rags in bales. who go to sleep only when the storm sleeps or the sinews of their iron steed are frozen. gathered from all quarters both of fashion and poverty. cedar -. and I behold the plowmen covered with snow and rime. are on hand when the bell rings.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 52 some brilliant station-house in town or city. yet it interferes with no man's business. Next rolls Thomaston lime. Commerce is unexpectedly confident and serene. Keep on your own track. I feel more like a citizen of the world at the sight of the palm-leaf which will cover so many flaxen New England heads the next summer. and fourth qualities. but whose courage does not go to rest so early. They go and come with such regularity and precision. There is no stopping to read the riot act. in this case. would never get to Boston by so prompt a conveyance. and the children go to school on the other track. that never turns aside.first. which will get far among the hills before it gets slacked. The startings and arrivals of the cars are now the epochs in the village day. above the mould-board which is turning down other than daisies and the nests of field mice. adventurous. high and low. without long delay. It does not clasp its hands and pray to Jupiter. and thus one well-conducted institution regulates a whole country. I am less affected by their heroism who stood up for half an hour in the front line at Buena Vista. and unwearied. the old junk. which is still raging and chilling men's blood. so lately all of one quality. Who has not seen a salt fish. then. and split your kindlings. and I smell the stores which go dispensing their odors all the way from Long Wharf to Lake Champlain. French. that occupy an outside place in the universe. which Bonaparte thought was the rarest. English. forsooth. which announces that the cars are coming. scaring the owl and fox. gunny bags. Have not men improved somewhat in punctuality since the railroad was invented? Do they not talk and think faster in the depot than they did in the stage-office? There is something electrifying in the atmosphere of the former place. and caribou. which did not go out to sea in the last freshet. We are all educated thus to be sons of Tell.and the . I am refreshed and expanded when the freight train rattles past me. will be written tales of real life.) Men are advertised that at a certain hour and minute these bolts will be shot toward particular points of the compass. reminding me of foreign parts. who. On this morning of the Great Snow. that some of my neighbors. and rusty nails. going to become paper of one color or a few shades only. third. muslins. and Indian oceans. We live the steadier for it. It is very natural in its methods withal. and the extent of the globe. perchance. once for all. scrap iron. the next in the Dismal Swamp. and rain behind it -. We have constructed a fate. a prime lot. This carload of torn sails is more legible and interesting now than if they should be wrought into paper and printed books. the strong New England and commercial scent. Who can write so graphically the history of the storms they have weathered as these rents have done? They are proof-sheets which need no correction. far more so than many fantastic enterprises and sentimental experiments. thoroughly cured for this world.of patterns which are now no longer cried up. of all hues and qualities. unless it be in Milwaukee. an Atropos. The air is full of invisible bolts. and their whistle can be heard so far. so that nothing can spoil it. doing more even than they suspect. where a social crowd is gathered. and hence its singular success. and putting. ginghams. than by the steady and cheerful valor of the men who inhabit the snowplow for their winter quarters. alert. spruce. risen four dollars on the thousand because of what did go out or was split up. the lowest condition to which cotton and linen descend. and moose. etc. pine. I should have prophesied. who have not merely the three-o'-clock-in-the-morning courage. wind. and the teamster shelter himself and his lading against sun. I see these men every day go about their business with more or less courage and content. reminding me of the Grand Banks and the fisheries. I bear the muffled tone of their engine bell from out the fog bank of their chilled breath. (Let that be the name of your engine. and it is worth the while to be warned so often and so sincerely by any power to get off its track. Here goes lumber from the Maine woods. What recommends commerce to me is its enterprise and bravery. the perseverance of the saints to the blush? with which you may sweep or pave the streets. Every path but your own is the path of fate. like bowlders of the Sierra Nevada. that the farmers set their clocks by them. as those splendid articles. and founded on fact! This closed car smells of salt fish. of coral reefs. their heads peering. the Manilla hemp and cocoanut husks. notwithstanding the veto of a New England northeast snow-storm.

Vermont. which I believe is what is usually done with them. They will not be in at the death." And hark! here comes the cattle-train bearing the cattle of a thousand hills. will come out an excellent dun-fish for a Saturday's dinner.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 53 trader. It fills a few hollows. and the hustling of oxen.-What's the railroad to me? I never go to see Where it ends. telling his customers this moment. as if a pastoral valley were going by. They will slink back to their kennels in disgrace. Their fidelity and sagacity are below par now. until at last his oldest customer cannot tell surely whether it be animal. too. and evincing how almost hopeless and incurable are all constitutional vices. hewn on far northern hills. and shepherd boys in the midst of their flocks. stables. and yet it shall be as pure as a snowflake. shot like an arrow through the township within ten minutes. And the blackberries a-growing. But the bell rings. or panting up the western slope of the Green Mountains. I have no hopes of changing it for the better or worse in this state of existence. all but the mountain pastures. Here is a hogshead of molasses or of brandy directed to John Smith. as he has told them twenty times before this morning. that practically speaking. they have lost the scent. So is your pastoral life whirled past and away. I look up from my book and see some tall pine. Methinks I hear them barking behind the Peterboro' Hills. and scarce another eye beholds it.a type of all obstinacy. sheepcots. As the Orientals say. and bound round with ligatures. and pressed. and if it be put into a pot and boiled. While these things go up other things come down. Warned by the whizzing sound. whirled along like leaves blown from the mountains by the September gales. It is advertised in the Cuttingsville Times. who imports for the farmers near his clearing. still it will retain its natural form." The only effectual cure for such inveteracies as these tails exhibit is to make glue of them. and then they will stay put and stick. It sets the sand a-blowing. But their dogs. or mineral. but still clinging to their useless sticks as their badge of office. with the tails still preserving their twist and the angle of elevation they had when the oxen that wore them were careering over the pampas of the Spanish Main -. how they may affect the price for him. that he expects some by the next train of prime quality. and cow-yards in the air. the mountains do indeed skip like rams and the little hills like lambs. as a Concord trader once did. their vocation gone. and now perchance stands over his bulkhead and thinks of the last arrivals on the coast. on a level with their droves now. too. drovers with their sticks. A carload of drovers. hang it up by his door for a sign when he commences business. . vegetable. which has winged its way over the Green Mountains and the Connecticut. I confess. And makes banks for the swallows. they are quite thrown out. when I have learned a man's real disposition. in the midst. When the old bell-wether at the head rattles his bell. Next Spanish hides. Cuttingsville. Their vocation. or perchance run wild and strike a league with the wolf and the fox. is gone. going "to be the mast Of some great ammiral. and after a twelve years' labor bestowed upon it. some trader among the Green Mountains. where are they? It is a stampede to them. "A cur's tail may be warmed. The air is filled with the bleating of calves and sheep. and I must get off the track and let the cars go by.

The echo is. and were again as musical as ever just before and about dawn. to some extent. I do not mean to be satirical. Near at hand you could fancy it the most melancholy sound in Nature. I was also serenaded by a hooting owl. who might be straying over hill and dale. They give me a new sense of the variety and capacity of that nature which is our common dwelling. When other birds are still. and therein is the magic and charm of it. the same trivial words and notes sung by a wood-nymph. trilled along the woodside. Then -. their doleful responses. At a sufficient distance over the woods this sound acquires a certain vibratory hum.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor but I cross it like a cart-path in the woods. Yet I love to hear their wailing. and at first I would mistake it for the voices of certain minstrels by whom I was sometimes serenaded. an original sound. They are the spirits. Acton. reminding me sometimes of music and singing birds.that I never had been bor-r-r-r-n! echoes another on the farther side with tremulous sincerity. as it were. by accident one a bar behind another. and which had conversed with every leaf and needle of the wood. the mutual consolations of suicide lovers remembering the pangs and the delights of supernal love in the infernal groves. and they were at length one articulation of Nature. or Concord bell. referred to the setting of the sun. when probably I was near its eggs. They sang at intervals throughout the night. as if she meant by this to stereotype and make permanent in her choir the dying moans of a human being -- . For the rest of the long afternoon. Regularly at half-past seven. that portion of the sound which the elements had taken up and modulated and echoed from vale to vale. natural melody. when I state that I perceived clearly that it was akin to the music of the cow. but. a faint. It is not merely a repetition of what was worth repeating in the bell. my meditations are interrupted only by the faint rattle of a carriage or team along the distant highway. of fallen souls that once in human shape night-walked the earth and did the deeds of darkness. the whip-poor-wills chanted their vespers for half an hour. There came to me in this case a melody which the air had strained. sweet. and so near me that I distinguished not only the cluck after each note. but to express my appreciation of those youths' singing. Oh-o-o-o-o that I never had been bor-r-r-r-n! sighs one on this side of the pond. a vibration of the universal lyre. Bedford. I heard the bells. the low spirits and melancholy forebodings. the distant lowing of some cow in the horizon beyond the woods sounded sweet and melodious. and -. in one part of the summer. Now that the cars are gone by and all the restless world with them. now expiating their sins with their wailing hymns or threnodies in the scenery of their transgressions. I am more alone than ever. I will not have my eyes put out and my ears spoiled by its smoke and steam and hissing. sitting on a stump by my door. or upon the ridge-pole of the house. I had a rare opportunity to become acquainted with their habits. worth importing into the wilderness. just as the intervening atmosphere makes a distant ridge of earth interesting to our eyes by the azure tint it imparts to it. as if it were the dark and tearful side of music. without jesting. 54 Sometimes. the regrets and sighs that would fain be sung. Sometimes I heard four or five at once in different parts of the wood. At evening. All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect. but partly the voice of the wood. the screech owls take up the strain. Wise midnight hags! It is no honest and blunt tu-whit tu-who of the poets. Their dismal scream is truly Ben Jonsonian. on Sundays. and the fishes in the pond no longer feel their rumbling. Sometimes one would circle round and round me in the woods a few feet distant as if tethered by a string. but often that singular buzzing sound like a fly in a spider's web. as if the pine needles in the horizon were the strings of a harp which it swept. when the wind was favorable. and circles with the restlessness of despair to some new perch on the gray oaks. every evening.bor-r-r-r-n! comes faintly from far in the Lincoln woods. the Lincoln. but soon I was not unpleasantly disappointed when it was prolonged into the cheap and natural music of the cow. a most solemn graveyard ditty. only proportionally louder. within five minutes of a particular time. after the evening train had gone by. and. perhaps. They would begin to sing almost with as much precision as a clock. like mourning women their ancient u-lu-lu.

and pausing for a reply. Even the sailor on the Atlantic and Pacific is awakened by his voice.I find myself beginning with the letters gl when I try to imitate it -.to say nothing of the eggs and drumsticks. tr-r-r--oonk. surpassing the clangor of the goose and the hooting of the owl. whether heard by day or night. but its shrill sound never roused me from my slumbers. and then the howl goes round again and again. for they were starved out. It reminded me of ghouls and idiots and insane howlings. and flabbiest paunched. and if they could be naturalized without being domesticated. mildewy stage in the mortification of all healthy and courageous thought. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. mocking at mirth. summer or winter. nor the hissing of the urn. clear and shrill for miles over the resounding earth. and when this observance has made the circuit of the shores. and sometimes again the lowing of some disconsolate cow in a distant barn-yard. cat. nor hens.if the Walden nymphs will pardon the comparison. To walk in a winter morning in a wood where these birds abounded. and wise? This foreign bird's note is celebrated by the poets of all countries along with the notes of their native songsters.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 55 some poor weak relic of mortality who has left hope behind. wealthy. which serves for a napkin to his drooling chaps. until the sun disperses the morning mist. tr-r-r-oonk! and each in his turn repeats the same down to the least distended. and sweet intoxication never comes to drown the memory of the past. till he became unspeakably healthy. In the mean-while all the shore rang with the trump of bullfrogs. nor even the singing of the kettle.who would fain keep up the hilarious rules of their old festal tables. pig. nor the spinning-wheel.think of it! It would put nations on the alert. but vainly bellowing troonk from time to time. made more awful by a certain gurgling melodiousness -. and indeed for the most part it suggested only pleasing associations. leakiest. neither the churn. The most aldermanic. and only the patriarch is not under the pond. Not even rats in the wall. with his chin upon a heart-leaf. though their voices have waxed hoarse and solemnly grave. his lungs are sound. with satisfaction. still unrepentant. that there be no mistake. yet with human sobs. and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there. tr-r-r-oonk! and straightway comes over the water from some distant cove the same password repeated. trying to sing a catch in their Stygian lake -.expressive of a mind which has reached the gelatinous. his spirits never flag. and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens. and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates. the sturdy spirits of ancient wine-bibbers and wassailers. I kept neither dog. and then imagine the cackling of the hens to fill the pauses when their lords' clarions rested! No wonder that man added this bird to his tame stock -. suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. and rise earlier and earlier every successive day of his life. there are frogs there -.Hoo hoo hoo. to comfort one. under this northern shore quaffs a deep draught of the once scorned water. and small hawks circulate above. and become only liquor to distend their paunches. then ejaculates the master of ceremonies.the baying of dogs. for though there are almost no weeds. His health is ever good. and I thought that it might be worth the while to keep a cockerel for his music merely. All climates agree with brave Chanticleer. but now a more dismal and fitting day dawns. Who would not be early to rise. He is more indigenous even than the natives. it would soon become the most famous sound in our woods. I am not sure that I ever heard the sound of cock-crowing from my clearing. as a singing bird. cow. so that you would have said there was a deficiency of domestic sounds. their native woods. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. An old-fashioned man would have lost his senses or died of ennui before this. where the single spruce stands hung with usnea lichens.only squirrels on the roof and under the . But now one answers from far woods in a strain made really melodious by distance -. hoorer hoo. and the wine has lost its flavor. nor children crying. and howls like an animal. drowning the feebler notes of other birds -. The note of this once wild Indian pheasant is certainly the most remarkable of any bird's. on entering the dark valley. and hear the wild cockerels crow on the trees. but mere saturation and waterloggedness and distention. Late in the evening I heard the distant rumbling of wagons over bridges -. All day the sun has shone on the surface of some savage swamp. where the next in seniority and girth has gulped down to his mark. I rejoice that there are owls. and passes round the cup with the ejaculation tr-r-r-oonk. or rather were never baited in -.a sound heard farther than almost any other at night -.

and a little world all to myself. either intentionally or accidentally. and of the fence which skirts the woodland road on the other.a pine tree snapped off or torn up by the roots behind your house for fuel. when the whole body is one sense. or a bunch of grass plucked and thrown away. and reclaimed from Nature. but seek their prey now. At night there was never a traveller passed my house. The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night. I have. and baited their hooks with darkness -. a hare or woodchuck under the house.they plainly fished much more in the Walden Pond of their own natures. A young forest growing up under your meadows. nor the pond. Though it is now dark. a screech owl or a cat owl behind it. all the elements are unusually congenial to me. abandoned to me by men? My nearest neighbor is a mile distant. When I return to my house I find that visitors have been there and left their cards. or a name in pencil on a yellow walnut leaf or a chip. Nay. which they leave. a distant view of the railroad where it touches the pond on the one hand. some square miles of unfrequented forest. There can be no very . But for the most part it is as solitary where I live as on the prairies. The wildest animals do not repose. or a wreath of evergreen. sturdy pitch pines rubbing and creaking against the shingles for want of room. Our horizon is never quite at our elbows. my own sun and moon and stars.but they soon retreated. and some creatures lull the rest with their notes.links which connect the days of animated life.no front-yard -. I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark. for my privacy. usually with light baskets. though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy. my serenity is rippled but not ruffled. a whip-poor-will on the ridge-pole. the most innocent and encouraging society may be found in any natural object. and imbibes delight through every pore. I have my horizon bounded by woods all to myself. and wild sumachs and blackberry vines breaking through into your cellar. The repose is never complete. as a flower dropped. though the witches are all hung. now roam the fields and woods without fear. a blue jay screaming beneath the window. For what reason have I this vast range and circuit. woven it into a ring. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath. more than if I were the first or last man. and generally of what sex or age or quality they were by some slight trace left. and skunk. and dropped it on my table. their roots reaching quite under the house. Not even a lark or an oriole. a part of herself. appropriated and fenced in some way. I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature. No yard! but unfenced nature reaching up to your very sills. the fox. familiar and worn by us. and a fox to bark in the night. ever visited my clearing." and the black kernel of the night was never profaned by any human neighborhood. I could always tell if visitors had called in my absence. either by the bended twigs or grass. even as far off as the railroad. The thick wood is not just at our door. or by the lingering odor of a cigar or pipe. There is commonly sufficient space about us.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 56 floor. when at long intervals some came from the village to fish for pouts -.and no path to the civilized world.no gate -. One has peeled a willow wand. those mild plantation birds. the wind still blows and roars in the wood. and left "the world to darkness and to me. Instead of a scuttle or a blind blown off in the gale -. a flock of wild geese or a laughing loon on the pond. or knocked at my door. the waves still dash. half a mile distant. and Christianity and candles have been introduced. They who come rarely to the woods take some little piece of the forest into their hands to play with by the way. These small waves raised by the evening wind are as remote from storm as the smooth reflecting surface. Instead of no path to the front-yard gate in the Great Snow -. It is as much Asia or Africa as New England. yet. even for the poor misanthrope and most melancholy man. and I see nothing special to attract me. and no house is visible from any place but the hill-tops within half a mile of my own. I was frequently notified of the passage of a traveller along the highway sixty rods off by the scent of his pipe. and the note of the whip-poor-will is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Solitude This is a delicious evening. but somewhat is always clearing. unless it were in the spring. and rabbit. They are Nature's watchmen -. Yet I experienced sometimes that the most sweet and tender. either a bunch of flowers. like the lake. No cockerels to crow nor hens to cackle in the yard. As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt-sleeves. or the print of their shoes. as it were.

and were especially guided and guarded. Though it prevents my hoeing them. or in the least oppressed by a sense of solitude. The gentle rain which waters my beans and keeps me in the house today is not drear and melancholy. the bar-room. but to the perennial source of our life. Men frequently say to me. I do not flatter myself. the school-house. and in every sound and sight around my house. but once.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 57 black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still. Every little pine needle expanded and swelled with sympathy and befriended me. it would be good for me. whence in all our experience we have found that to issue. and thoroughly enjoyed its protection.. In one heavy thunder-shower the lightning struck a large pitch pine across the pond. think you. and want to be nearer to folks. but if it be possible they flatter me. when. now more distinct than ever. the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. I passed it again the other day. soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting. To be alone was something unpleasant. "I should think you would feel lonesome down there. an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like an atmosphere sustaining me. or the Five Points. Sometimes. when I compare myself with other men." Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall. beyond any deserts that I am conscious of. the depot. Few are their days in the land of the living.. but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar. as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. in the very pattering of the drops. and also that the nearest of blood to me and humanest was not a person nor a villager. and I have never thought of them since. and four or five inches wide. it seems as if I were more favored by the gods than they. dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. "Mourning untimely consumes the sad. While I enjoy the friendship of the seasons I trust that nothing can make life a burden to me. I one evening overtook one of my townsmen. when the maids stood ready with mop and pail in front entries to keep the deluge out. when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. it would still be good for the grass on the uplands. Nothing can rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness. I answered that I was very sure I liked it passably well. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely. and was struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark. Beautiful daughter of Toscar. In the midst of a gentle rain while these thoughts prevailed. the meeting-house. driving a pair of cattle to market. I was not . that I thought no place could ever be strange to me again. as if I had a warrant and surety at their hands which my fellows have not. I have never felt lonesome.This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. If it should continue so long as to cause the seeds to rot in the ground and destroy the potatoes in the low lands. I was so distinctly made aware of the presence of something kindred to me. and. I doubted if the near neighborhood of man was not essential to a serene and healthy life. an inch or more deep." I am tempted to reply to such -. where men most congregate. But I was at the same time conscious of a slight insanity in my mood. but good for me too. it is of far more worth than my hoeing. which was all entry.on the Walden road. even in scenes which we are accustomed to call wild and dreary. as made the fancied advantages of human neighborhood insignificant. who has accumulated what is called "a handsome property" -. rainy and snowy days and nights especially. where a terrific and resistless bolt came down out of the harmless sky eight years ago. There was never yet such a storm but it was AEolian music to a healthy and innocent ear. which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon. who inquired of me how I could bring my mind to give up so many of the comforts of life. I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature. making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from top to bottom. the grocery.. the post-office. for an hour. How far apart. and seemed to foresee my recovery. In those driving northeast rains which tried the village houses so. I sat behind my door in my little house. and that was a few weeks after I came to the woods. This will vary with different natures. Beacon Hill. as you would groove a walking-stick.though I never got a fair view of it -. being good for the grass.

and left him to pick his way through the darkness and the mud to Brighton -. and not feel lonesome. Nearest to all things is that power which fashions their being. so far as he was concerned. is not a part of me. identified with the substance of things. they environ us on all sides. and clothe themselves in their holiday garments to offer sacrifices and oblations to their ancestors. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. though in the house. and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. they cannot be separated from them. They are everywhere.have our own thoughts to cheer us? Confucius says truly." With thinking we may be beside ourselves in a sane sense. and that is no more I than it is you. on our left. and in turn seeks the same recreation and society that the latter does. and we do not hear them. I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me. We are not wholly involved in Nature. let him be where he will. in fact.or Bright-town -. and chopping in his woods. it must of necessity have neighbors. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules. on the other hand. I may not be affected by an actual event which appears to concern me much more. called etiquette and politeness. above us.which place he would reach some time in the morning. The really diligent student in one of the crowded hives of Cambridge College is as solitary as a dervish in the desert. The farmer can work alone in the field or the woods all day. go by us like a torrent.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor joking. Can we not do without the society of our gossips a little while under these circumstances -. Society is commonly too cheap. I only know myself as a human entity." We are the subjects of an experiment which is not a little interesting to me. and we do not see them. and indescribably pleasant to all our senses. the cause of our distraction. it may be the tragedy. of thoughts and affections. We meet at meals three times a day." and recreate. I may be affected by a theatrical exhibition. It is an ocean of subtile intelligences. is still at work in his field. as the farmer in his. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. on our right. the spectator goes his way. so to speak. I may be either the driftwood in the stream. as it were. a work of the imagination only. to make this . at the mercy of his thoughts. and. but must be where he can "see the folks. For the most part we allow only outlying and transient circumstances to make our occasions. and am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. This doubleness may easily make us poor neighbors and friends sometimes. and all things. is soon wearisome and dissipating. even with the best. good and bad. but when he comes home at night he cannot sit down in a room alone. or Indra in the sky looking down on it. We meet at very short intervals. A man thinking or working is always alone. Next to us is not the workman whom we have hired. I love to be alone. but spectator. as he thinks. which. sharing no experience. of life is over. hoeing or chopping. remunerate himself for his day's solitude. because he is employed. I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. Solitude is not measured by the miles of space that intervene between a man and his fellows. "How vast and profound is the influence of the subtile powers of Heaven and of Earth!" "We seek to perceive them. By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences." "They cause that in all the universe men purify and sanctify their hearts. "Virtue does not remain as an abandoned orphan. Next to us the grandest laws are continually being executed. with whom we love so well to talk. The place where that may occur is always the same. 58 Any prospect of awakening or coming to life to a dead man makes indifferent all times and places. It was a kind of fiction. we seek to hear them. not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. and hence he wonders how the student can sit alone in the house all night and most of the day without ennui and "the blues". but he does not realize that the student. but the workman whose work we are. To be in company. the scene. However intense my experience. When the play. And so I went home to my bed. but taking note of it. They are. though it may be a more condensed form of it.

I pray? And yet it has not the blue devils. which come out of those long shallow black-schooner looking wagons which we sometimes see made to carry bottles. as where I live. whose loneliness was relieved by the grotesque visions with which. that all Nature would be affected. I am no more lonely than the Mill Brook. and stoned it. We meet at the post-office. he is far from being alone. for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world. his diseased imagination surrounded him. owing to bodily weakness. and fringed it with pine woods. that we should touch him. especially in the morning. for she has a genius of unequalled fertility. in whose odorous herb garden I love to stroll sometimes. when nobody calls. So also. A ruddy and lusty old dame. but our great-grandmother Nature's universal. or than Walden Pond itself. whom I love much. we may be continually cheered by a like but more normal and natural society. he sees a great deal of company. we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops. vegetable. gathering simples and listening to her fables.of sun and wind and rain. and come to know that we are never alone. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications. What company has that lonely lake. invisible to most persons. and the woods shed their leaves and put on mourning in midsummer. instead of one of those quack vials of a mixture dipped from Acheron and the Dead Sea. even without apples or cider -. then.but the devil. Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? What is the pill which will keep us well. of summer and winter -such health. dwells in my neighborhood. or a bean leaf. such cheer. . except in thick weather. when there sometimes appear to be two. but the blue angels in it. I have occasional visits in the long winter evenings. and on what fact every one is founded. Consider the girls in a factory -. when the snow falls fast and the wind howls in the wood.a most wise and humorous friend. Let me suggest a few comparisons. it will not keep quite till noonday even in the coolest cellar. by which she has kept herself young always. and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. let me have a draught of undiluted morning air. contented? Not my or thy great-grandfather's. I am no worshipper of Hygeia. The value of a man is not in his skin. owing to bodily and mental health and strength. and her memory runs back farther than mythology. But remember. For my panacea. or a January thaw. who delights in all weathers and seasons. if any man should ever for a just cause grieve. and which he believed to be real. I have heard of a man lost in the woods and dying of famine and exhaustion at the foot of a tree. botanic medicines. and she can tell me the original of every fable. in the azure tint of its waters. God is alone -. and between us we manage to pass a cheerful evening with social mirth and pleasant views of things. I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture. why. outlived so many old Parrs in her day. from an old settler and original proprietor. The indescribable innocence and beneficence of Nature -. or the first spider in a new house. or a bumblebee. or sorrel.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 59 frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. and at the sociable. or a weathercock. Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day. or an April shower. An elderly dame. and the clouds rain tears. and in the other a cup out of which the serpent sometimes drinks. they afford forever! and such sympathy have they ever with our race. or the south wind. serene. and though he is thought to be dead. and stumble over one another. It would be better if there were but one inhabitant to a square mile.never alone. and the winds would sigh humanely. and about the fireside every night. we live thick and are in each other's way. but one is a mock sun. who is reported to have dug Walden Pond. that some one may convey an idea of my situation. none can show where he is buried. or the north star. he is legion. who was the daughter of that old herb-doctor AEsculapius. and who is represented on monuments holding a serpent in one hand. and the sun's brightness fade. who keeps himself more secret than ever did Goffe or Whalley. I am no more lonely than the loon in the pond that laughs so loud. I have a great deal of company in my house. but drive out the stopples long ere that and follow westward the steps of Aurora. for the incidents occurred when she was young. The sun is alone. and fed her health with their decaying fatness. hardly in their dreams. or a horse-fly. and is likely to outlive all her children yet. too. who tells me stories of old time and of new eternity.

and feel each other's breath. but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 60 but rather of Hebe. I took them. healthy. but they generally economized the room by standing up. on whose carpet the sun rarely fell. being spoken to. or watching the rising and maturing of a loaf of bread in the ashes. our sentences wanted room to unfold and form their columns in the interval. They are so vast and magnificent that the latter seem to be only vermin which infest them. I am naturally no hermit. The waste and decay of physical life. both public and private. If we are merely loquacious and loud talkers. Thither in summer days. one for solitude. two for friendship. else it may plow out again through the side of his head. As the conversation began to assume a loftier and grander tone. and a priceless domestic swept the floor and dusted the furniture and kept the things in order. I have had twenty-five or thirty souls. when distinguished guests came. which so often needs repair. and robust young lady that ever walked the globe. and wherever she came it was spring. always ready for company. but we naturally practised abstinence. and it was no interruption to conversation to be stirring a hasty-pudding. if my business called me thither. cheek by jowl. You want room for your thoughts to get into sailing trim and run a course or two before they make their port. at once under my roof. between them. I am surprised when the herald blows his summons before some Tremont or Astor or Middlesex House. which soon again slinks into some hole in the pavement. and then commonly there was not room enough. In my house we were so near that we could not begin to hear -. cup-bearer to Jupiter. If one guest came he sometimes partook of my frugal meal. and the vital vigor stood its ground. as when you throw two stones into calm water so near that they break each other's undulations. was the pine wood behind my house. and am ready enough to fasten myself like a bloodsucker for the time to any full-blooded man that comes in my way. When visitors came in larger and unexpected numbers there was but the third chair for them all. It is surprising how many great men and women a small house will contain. to see come creeping out over the piazza for all inhabitants a ridiculous mouse. She was probably the only thoroughly sound-conditioned. like nations. who was the daughter of Juno and wild lettuce. I could entertain thus a thousand as well as twenty. Referred to this standard. The bullet of your thought must have overcome its lateral and ricochet motion and fallen into its last and steady course before it reaches the ear of the hearer. we must not only be silent. and who had the power of restoring gods and men to the vigor of youth. then we can afford to stand very near together. must have suitable broad and natural boundaries. speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing. appear to be extravagantly large for their inhabitants. we want to be farther apart. but commonly so far apart bodily that we cannot possibly hear each other's voice in any case. we gradually shoved our chairs farther apart till they touched the wall in opposite corners. though there might be bread enough for two.we could not speak low enough to be heard. that all animal heat and moisture may have a chance to evaporate. and this was never felt to be an offence against hospitality. Also. I had three chairs in my house. One inconvenience I sometimes experienced in so small a house. more than if eating were a forsaken habit. I have found it a singular luxury to talk across the pond to a companion on the opposite side. even a considerable neutral ground. but the most proper and considerate course. with their almost innumerable apartments. however. and yet we often parted without being aware that we had come very near to one another. Visitors I think that I love society as much as most. or above. If we would enjoy the most intimate society with that in each of us which is without. But if twenty came and sat in my house there was nothing said about dinner. Individuals. but if we speak reservedly and thoughtfully. with their bodies. Many of our houses. but might possibly sit out the sturdiest frequenter of the bar-room. in the meanwhile. and if any ever went away . my withdrawing room. the difficulty of getting to a sufficient distance from my guest when we began to utter the big thoughts in big words. three for society. their huge halls and their cellars for the storage of wines and other munitions of peace. seemed miraculously retarded in such a case. My "best" room.

and." At one o'clock the next day Massasoit "brought two fishes that he had shot. it is true they were but poorly entertained. I mean that I had some. while he holds the book. the most eat of them. I had more visitors while I lived in the woods than at any other period in my life. pressed by and upon us. I do not see how the Indians could have done better. a woodchopper and post-maker. I think I shall never revisit those scenes. like a young girl?" "Or have you alone heard some news from Phthia? . In this respect. For my own part. afterward governor of the Plymouth Colony. has heard of Homer. it being a season of plenty with them. As for men. for want of room. Patroclus. to quote their own words -. though what they found an inconvenience was no doubt intended for an honor. but as far as eating was concerned. by any kind of Cerberus whatever. -"Why are you in tears. the little house they fill. When the night arrived. there were wafted to me evidences of unexplored and uncultivated continents on the other side. though many housekeepers doubt it. there were at least forty looked for a share in them. I had withdrawn so far within the great ocean of solitude. Who should come to my lodge this morning but a true Homeric or Paphlagonian man -. who made his last supper on a woodchuck which his dog caught.a Canadian." Fearing that they would be light-headed for want of food and also sleep."He laid us on the bed with himself and his wife. they were well received by the king. This meal only we had in two nights and a day. Achilles' reproof to Patroclus for his sad countenance. only the finest sediment was deposited around me. and arrived tired and hungry at his lodge. "These being boiled. I met several there under more favorable circumstances than I could anywhere else. But fewer came to see me on trivial business. they may depend upon it that I sympathized with them at least. They had nothing to eat themselves. You need not rest your reputation on the dinners you give." about thrice as big as a bream. but nothing was said about eating that day. went with a companion on a visit of ceremony to Massasoit on foot through the woods. and now I must translate to him. and they were wiser than to think that apologies could supply the place of food to their guests. and all things at their will: The noblest mind the best contentment has. it being only planks laid a foot from the ground and a thin mat upon them. "if it were not for books. which I took to be a very polite and roundabout hint never to trouble him so again. they departed. into which the rivers of society empty. that for the most part. as by the parade one made about dining me. so they drew their belts tighter and said nothing about it. I should be proud to have for the motto of my cabin those lines of Spenser which one of my visitors inscribed on a yellow walnut leaf for a card:-"Arrived there." though perhaps he has not read one wholly through for many rainy seasons. so far as my needs were concerned. As for lodging." would "not know what to do rainy days. (for they use to sing themselves asleep. to establish new and better customs in the place of the old. there was no deficiency in this respect. Ne looke for entertainment where none was. they at the one end and we at the other. we had taken our journey fasting. who can hole fifty posts in a day. they will hardly fail one anywhere.)" and that they might get home while they had strength to travel. Beside. I was never so effectually deterred from frequenting a man's house." When Winslow. so that we were worse weary of our lodging than of our journey. owing to "the savages' barbarous singing. and had not one of us bought a partridge. So easy is it.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 61 disappointed or hungry from my house when they found me at home. too. Two more of his chief men. my company was winnowed by my mere distance from town.he had so suitable and poetic a name that I am sorry I cannot print it here -. Rest is their feast. Some priest who could pronounce the Greek itself taught him to read his verse in the Testament in his native parish far away. He. Another time when Winslow visited them.

I asked him once if he was not sometimes tired at night. a well of good humor and contentment which overflowed at his eyes. And Peleus lives. and go back a mile and a half to dress it and leave it in the cellar of the house where he boarded. He interested me because he was so quiet and solitary and so happy withal. felling trees. He was cast in the coarsest mould. firing salutes to himself at regular intervals as he walked.by gosh! I could get all I should want for a week in one day. and indulged in some flourishes and ornaments in his art. seemed to have hardly any existance for him. when at leisure. roll it up into a ball and chew it while he laughed and talked. In physical endurance and contentment he was cousin to the pine and the rock. To him Homer was a great writer. Frequently he would leave his dinner in the bushes. His mirth was without alloy. and cowhide boots. after working all day. we should greatly grieve. and earn money to buy a farm with at last. but only to the degree of trust and reverence. with a thick sunburnt neck." But the intellectual and what is called spiritual man in him were slumbering as in an infant. but kept a child. He was about twenty-eight years old. that the sprouts which came up afterward might be more vigorous and a sled might slide over the stumps. He had been instructed only in that innocent and ineffectual way in which the Catholic priests teach the aborigines. among the Myrmidons. after deliberating first for half an hour whether he could not sink it in the pond safely till nightfall -." says he. rabbits. and he answered. perhaps in his native country. partridges -. and. dark bushy hair. peeling off the inner bark. usually carrying his dinner to his work a couple of miles past my house -.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor They say that Menoetius lives yet. Vice and disease." In him the animal man chiefly was developed. with a sincere and serious look. and a salutation in Canadian French. When Nature made him."By George! I can enjoy myself well enough here chopping. He wore a flat gray cloth cap. When I approached him he would suspend his work. Sometimes I saw him at his work in the woods. and dull sleepy blue eyes." He has a great bundle of white oak bark under his arm for a sick man.in a tin pail. though what his writing was about he did not know. and he would greet me with a laugh of inexpressible satisfaction. cold meats. often cold woodchucks. In the winter he had a fire by which at noon he warmed his coffee in a kettle. which were occasionally lit up with expression. He wasn't a-going to hurt himself. . and as he sat on a log to eat his dinner the chickadees would sometimes come round and alight on his arm and peck at the potato in his fingers. woodchucks. "Gorrappit. He didn't care if he only earned his board. as he went by in the morning. and he said that he "liked to have the little fellers about him. "I suppose there's no harm in going after such a thing to-day. and sometimes he offered me a drink.for he chopped all summer -. A more simple and natural man it would be hard to find. son of Actor. Such an exuberance of animal spirits had he that he sometimes tumbled down and rolled on the ground with laughter at anything which made him think and tickled him. I want no better sport. son of AEacus. yet gracefully carried. "How thick the pigeons are! If working every day were not my trade. she gave him a strong body and contentment for his portion. a stout but sluggish body. he amused himself all day in the woods with a pocket pistol. "That's good. He cut his trees level and close to the ground. and a child is not made a man. he would pare it away to a slender stake or splinter which you could break off with your hand at last." Sometimes. Either of whom having died." 62 He says. a dingy wool-colored greatcoat. and instead of leaving a whole tree to support his corded wood.loving to dwell long upon these themes. and with half-suppressed mirth lie along the trunk of a pine which he had felled. gathered this Sunday morning. though he spoke English as well. and had left Canada and his father's house a dozen years before to work in the States. I never was tired in my life. Looking round upon the trees he would exclaim -. though without anxiety or haste to get to his work. by which the pupil is never educated to the degree of consciousness. when his dog had caught a woodchuck by the way. He would say. which cast such a sombre moral hue over the world. I could get all the meat I should want by hunting-pigeons. He was a great consumer of meat. and coffee in a stone bottle which dangled by a string from his belt." He was a skilful chopper. He came along early. such as Yankees exhibit. crossing my bean-field.

Could he do without factories? I asked. more than if you introduced a woodchuck to your neighbor. Men paid him wages for work. not knowing that the question had ever been entertained before. he could not. He was so simply and naturally humble -. and let him be forgotten still. because. When I told him that I wrote considerably. and then there was spelling to be attended to at the same time! I heard that a distinguished wise man and reformer asked him if he did not want the world to be changed. he did as if he thought that anything so grand would expect nothing of himself. which he supposed to contain an abstract of human knowledge. and whistling to himself. he said. if I had made any improvement. To a stranger he appeared to know nothing of things in general. . in describing them as they concerned him. he could not tell what to put first. nor could he conceive of it. and he never failed to look at them in the most simple and practical light. without expressing any regret. and knew that he had passed. A townsman told me that when he met him sauntering through the village in his small close-fitting cap. He said that he had read and written letters for those who could not.said he. as indeed it does to a considerable extent. "a man that has to work as I do. He particularly reverenced the writer and the preacher. the highest that he appeared to conceive of was a simple expediency. When I asked him if he could do without money. that he might live out his threescore years and ten a child. "No." It would have suggested many things to a philosopher to have dealings with him. "How I love to talk! By George. May be the man you hoe with is inclined to race.if he can be called humble who never aspires -that humility was no distinct quality in him. Their performances were miracles. If I suggested any improvement in his mode of life. His only books were an almanac and an arithmetic. will be satisfied to sit all day with his back to the fire and his belly to the table. whether to suspect him of a fine poetic consciousness or of stupidity. your mind must be there. He had never heard of such things before. you think of weeds. yet I sometimes saw in him a man whom I had not seen before. he gave the true reason for their prevalence. but he never tried to write thoughts -. I like it well enough. He never heard the sound of praise. He could defend many institutions better than any philosopher. he thought it would be inconvenient and impossible soon to go on mortgaging some portion of the creature each time to that amount." He would sometimes ask me first on such occasions. and some higher motive for living. then. for he could write a remarkably good hand himself. by gorry. and he wished to get needles and thread at the store. He had got to find him out as you did. and so helped to feed and clothe him. he reminded him of a prince in disguise. if he does not forget the ideas he has had.a biped without feathers -. If an ox were his property. that it was too late. he thought it an important difference that the knees bent the wrong way. I sometimes found the name of his native parish handsomely written in the snow by the highway. I loved to sound him on the various reforms of the day. with the proper French accent. The former was a sort of cyclopaedia to him. is true of most men. Yet he thoroughly believed in honesty and the like virtues.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 63 and propped him on every side with reverence and reliance. At another time. "Satisfied!" said he.no. he showed the convenience of money in such a way as to suggest and coincide with the most philosophical accounts of the origin of this institution. and this. but take all the responsibility on itself. by any manoeuvring. "Good Lord" -. hearing Plato's definition of a man -. He had worn the home-made Vermont gray. if he had got a new idea this summer. but he answered with a chuckle of surprise in his Canadian accent. and some with another. One winter day I asked him if he was always satisfied with himself. and that was good. wishing to suggest a substitute within him for the priest without. if he has got enough. such as you might expect an animal to appreciate. by George!" Yet I never. he thought for a long time that it was merely the handwriting which I meant. One man. and I did not know whether he was as wise as Shakespeare or as simply ignorant as a child. in which last he was considerably expert. but he never exchanged opinions with them. He would not play any part. and the very derivation of the word pecunia. when I had not seen him for many months. perhaps. He was so genuine and unsophisticated that no introduction would serve to introduce him. and speculation had not suggested to him any other. practically. and thought that was better than water in warm weather. I could talk all day!" I asked him once. he will do well. Could he dispense with tea and coffee? Did this country afford any beverage beside water? He had soaked hemlock leaves in water and drank it. it would kill him. I asked him if he ever wished to write his thoughts.and that one exhibited a cock plucked and called it Plato's man. could get him to take the spiritual view of things. He would sometimes exclaim. "some men are satisfied with one thing. he merely answered. If you told him that such a one was coming. Wiser men were demigods to him.

Far off as I lived. who take their own view always. though he may have the very best appetite in the world. but to your hospitalality. for one thing. . as much as to say. I did not know at first but it was the result of a wise policy. a score of them lost in every morning's dew -. guests who appeal. however slight. though they may be dark and muddy. simple-minded pauper.and become frizzled and mangy in consequence. And." said he. with the utmost simplicity and truth. Yet his thinking was so primitive and immersed in his animal life. men of a thousand ideas. as at the White Mountains. I learned that there was not much difference between the half and the whole. who are among the world's poor. and I occasionally observed that he was thinking for himself and expressing his own opinion. alas! I have too good a memory to make that necessary. and it amounted to the re-origination of many of the institutions of society. Men of almost every degree of wit called on me in the migrating season. like the fox in the fable. "I have always been so. as an excuse for calling. It was the Lord's will. The Lord had made him so. visited me. that he was "deficient in intellect. Men of one idea. Indeed. and so was compensated. that. It seemed that from such a basis of truth and frankness as the poor weak-headed pauper had laid. Half-witted men from the almshouse and elsewhere came to see me. and. One man proposed a book in which visitors should write their names. but. a phenomenon so rare that I would any day walk ten miles to observe it. methinks.it was so simple and sincere and so true all that he said. and unkempt heads. Some who had more wits than they knew what to do with. and thought it was time that the tables were turned. however permanently humble and illiterate. One day. and perhaps failed to express himself distinctly. I found some of them to be wiser than the so-called overseers of the poor and selectmen of the town. He was a metaphysical puzzle to me. though there were some curious specimens among my visitors." And there he was to prove the truth of his words. and expressed a wish to live as I did. quite superior. Many a traveller came out of his way to see me and the inside of my house. about the first of April. he always had a presentable thought behind. to anything that is called humility. -"O Christian. a sort of intellectual centipede that made you crawl all over. like those hens which are made to take charge of a hundred chickens. answering them from greater and greater remoteness. and preface their appeal with the information that they are resolved. runaway slaves with plantation manners. and that a duckling. whom I helped to forward toward the north star. in proportion as he appeared to humble himself was he exalted." These were his words. to be detected in him. Men who did not know when their visit had terminated. and make their confessions to me. among the rest.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 64 There was a certain positive originality. like a hen with one chicken. it rarely ripened to anything which can be reported. men of ideas instead of legs. With respect to wit. offering to lend them a dipper. as if they heard the hounds a-baying on their track. not to your hospitality. I was not exempted from the annual visitation which occurs. but I endeavored to make them exercise all the wit they had. I told them that I drank at the pond. though I went about my business again. "from my childhood. yet he supposed the Lord cared as much for him as for another. Objects of charity are not guests. an inoffensive. standing or sitting on a bushel in the fields to keep cattle and himself from straying. but who should be. I was not like other children. I never had much mind. though more promising than a merely learned man's. or do not pretend to see at all. He told me. in such cases making wit the theme of our conversation. our intercourse might go forward to something better than the intercourse of sages. all in pursuit of one bug. and I had my share of good luck. when everybody is on the move. whom with others I had often seen used as fencing stuff. in particular. Though he hesitated. I have rarely met a fellowman on such promising ground -. I suppose. I had some guests from those not reckoned commonly among the town's poor. will you send me back? One real runaway slave. who are as bottomless even as Walden Pond was thought to be. never to help themselves. and looked at me beseechingly. I require of a visitor that he be not actually starving. true enough. I am weak in the head. at any rate. or rather inferior. asked for a glass of water. who listened from time to time. who earnestly wish to be helped. He suggested that there might be men of genius in the lowest grades of life. however he got it. and pointed thither.

though the danger must be allowed to be less in proportion as he is dead-and-alive to begin with. This was my curious labor all summer -. -. What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting. blackberries. and break up their ancient herb garden? Soon. They looked in the pond and at the flowers. uneasy housekeepers who pried into my cupboard and bed when I was out -. my beans. Restless committed men. were impatient to be hoed. whose time was an taken up in getting a living or keeping it. though so many more than I wanted. if a man is alive. to them life seemed full of danger -. the length of whose rows. cool days. produce instead this pulse. before. a league for mutual defence.what danger is there if you don't think of any? -. where Dr. for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground. The Bean-Field Meanwhile my beans. all honest pilgrims. B. and so I got strength like Antaeus. Ay! there was the rub. who came out to the woods for freedom's sake. Girls and boys and young women generally seemed glad to be in the woods. and had concluded that it was safest to follow the beaten track of the professions -. which for the most part is lean and effete. however. What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them. I hoe them. of whatever age or sex. for I kept no chickens. which had yielded only cinquefoil. Englishmen! welcome. The last have nibbled for me a quarter of an acre clean. and improved their time. Englishmen!" for I had had communication with that race.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 65 I could not but notice some of the peculiarities of my visitors. I did not fear the hen-harriers. I had more cheering visitors than the last. early and late I have an eye to them. They attached me to the earth. and this is my day's work. the remaining beans will be too tough for them. there is always danger that he may die. fishermen and hunters. in short. indeed they were not easily to be put off. But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest.-This is the house that I built. and though they said that they loved a ramble in the woods occasionally.to make this portion of the earth's surface. sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers. thought most of sickness. but I feared the men-harriers rather. To them the village was literally a community. I was ready to greet with -. . My enemies are worms. I came to love my rows.young men who had ceased to be young. there were the self-styled reformers. and go forward to meet new foes. and of the great distance at which I dwelt from something or other.and they thought that a prudent man would carefully select the safest position."Welcome. This is the man that lives in the house that I built. The amount of it is. lawyers. this small Herculean labor. but they did not know that the third line was. and most of all woodchucks. might be on hand at a moment's warning. Finally. poets and philosophers. The old and infirm and the timid. railroad men taking a Sunday morning walk in clean shirts. it was obvious that they did not. and really left the village behind. the greatest bores of all. who thought that I was forever singing. and what fertility is in the soil itself. johnswort. added together. was seven miles already planted. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows. and the like. even farmers. Children come a-berrying. It is a fine broad leaf to look on. thought only of solitude and employment. and you would suppose that they would not go a-huckleberrying without a medicine chest.how came Mrs. and sudden accident and death. My auxiliaries are the dews and rains which water this dry soil. ministers who spoke of God as if they enjoyed a monopoly of the subject. who could not bear all kinds of opinions.to know that my sheets were not as clean as hers? -. These are the folks that worry the man That lives in the house that I built.all these generally said that it was not possible to do so much good in my position. Men of business. A man sits as many risks as he runs. doctors. I knew not.

putting fresh soil about the bean stems.or red mavis. for fodder. This was one field not in Mr. and the hard-featured farmer reins up his grateful dobbin to inquire what you are doing where he sees no manure in the furrow. so they made the most of it. glad of your society. But labor of the hands. and only a hoe for cart and two hands to draw it -. as I well remember. as some states are civilized. but in all dells and pond-holes in the woods and pastures and swamps grows a rich and various crop only unreaped by man. my boy. had exhausted the soil for this very crop. and to the scholar it yields a classic result. by the way. and recommends a little chip dirt. to the pond. corn for fodder. or the sun had got above the shrub oaks. through these very woods and this field.the ministerial husbandman had not suspected it. and others savage or barbarous.pull it up. that an extinct nation had anciently dwelt here and planted corn and beans ere white men came to clear the land. upon the topmost spray of a birch. drop it -. is perhaps never the worst form of idleness. and one of the results of my presence and influence is seen in these bean leaves. they sitting at their ease in gigs. that would find out another farmer's field if yours were not here. The pines still stand here older than I. dabbling like a plastic artist in the dewy and crumbling sand. so my field was. It was the only open and cultivated field for a great distance on either side of the road. They were beans cheerfully returning to their wild and primitive state that I cultivated. "Corn. and sometimes the man in the field heard more of travellers' gossip and comment than was meant for his ear: "Beans so late! peas so late!" -. Removing the weeds.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 66 When I was four years old. fifteen rods. but in the course of the summer it appeared by the arrowheads which I turned up in hoeing. to some extent. Before yet any woodchuck or squirrel had run across the road. who estimates the value of the crop which nature yields in the still wilder fields unimproved by man? The crop of English hay is carefully weighed. or. with elbows on knees. I have cooked my supper with their stumps. Early in the morning I worked barefooted. .I would advise you to do all your work if possible while the dew is on -.cover it up. as some love to call him -. Fellow-travellers as they rattled by compared it aloud with the fields which they had passed.there being an aversion to other carts and horses -. the one end terminating in a shrub oak copse where I could rest in the shade. so that I came to know how I stood in the agricultural world. I was brought from Boston to this my native town. sings the brown thrasher -. or it may be ashes or plaster. and became much more intimate with my beans than usual. the moisture calculated. It has a constant and imperishable moral. and even I have at length helped to clothe that fabulous landscape of my infant dreams. And now to-night my flute has waked the echoes over that very water. Almost the same johnswort springs from the same perennial root in this pasture.all the morning. and my hoe played the Rans des Vaches for them. and so. But here were two acres and a half of furrows. as it were. making the yellow soil express its summer thought in bean leaves and blossoms rather than in wormwood and piper and millet grass. Coleman's report. pull it up. I the home-staying. or hired men or boys. a half-cultivated field. he cries -.and chip dirt far away. A very agricola laboriosus was I to travellers bound westward through Lincoln and Wayland to nobody knows where. making the earth say beans instead of grass -. and reins loosely hanging in festoons."Drop it. Mine was. laborious native of the soil.for I continued to plant when others had begun to hoe -. and potato vines. and as it was only about fifteen years since the land was cleared. the silicates and the potash. the other in a blackberry field where the green berries deepened their tints by the time I had made another bout. and encouraging this weed which I had sown. and I myself had got out two or three cords of stumps. I did not give it any manure. I planted about two acres and a half of upland. As I had little aid from horses or cattle." "Does he live there?" asks the black bonnet of the gray coat. cover it up -. There the sun lighted me to hoe beans. preparing another aspect for new infant eyes. pacing slowly backward and forward over that yellow gravelly upland.I began to level the ranks of haughty weeds in my bean-field and throw dust upon their heads. It is one of the oldest scenes stamped on my memory. while all the dew was on. While you are planting the seed. the connecting link between wild and cultivated fields. between the long green rows. but later in the day the sun blistered my feet. But soon my homestead was out of their sight and thought. Near at hand. if some have fallen. or any little waste stuff. I was much slower.this was my daily work. even when pursued to the verge of drudgery. corn blades. though not in a bad sense. or improved implements of husbandry. And. and a new growth is rising all around. though the farmers warned me against it -. and others half-civilized.

some of which bore the marks of having been burned by Indian fires. what with planting. making haste over the fields and up the Wayland road. it sounded as if all the village was a vast bellows and all the buildings expanded and collapsed alternately with a din. and leaving one another. and that the neighbors. a trace of Egypt and the Nile. and some by the sun. and yet prefer it to leached ashes or plaster. Or sometimes I watched a pair of hen-hawks circling high in the sky. To me.for why should we always stand for trifles? -. approaching. and the trumpet that sings of fame. yet our contemporary. It was a singular experience that long acquaintance which I cultivated with beans. I knew that they had got the last drone of them all safely into the Middlesex hive. or in heaven's eye. small imps that fill the air and lay their eggs on the ground on bare sand or rocks on the tops of hills. and their small implements of war and hunting were brought to the light of this modern day. and . It was no longer beans that I hoed. When there were several bands of musicians. The nighthawk circled overhead in the sunny afternoons -. Or I was attracted by the passage of wild pigeons from this wood to that. were endeavoring to call them down into the hive again. by a faint tintinnabulum upon the most sonorous of their domestic utensils. with a slight quivering winnowing sound and carrier haste. until at length some more favorable puff of wind. I have sometimes had a vague sense all the day of some sort of itching and disease in the horizon. and the hum had ceased. a part of the inexhaustible entertainment which the country offers. as if they were the embodiment of my own thoughts. either scarlatina or canker-rash. falling from time to time with a swoop and a sound as if the heavens were rent. graceful and slender like ripples caught up from the pond. where few have found them. These martial strains seemed as far away as Palestine. and was an accompaniment to my labor which yielded an instant and immeasurable crop. my acquaintances who had gone to the city to attend the oratorios. or from under a rotten stump my hoe turned up a sluggish portentous and outlandish spotted salamander.and looked round for a woodchuck or a skunk to exercise my chivalry upon. When I paused to lean on my hoe. You may wonder what his rigmarole. away there in my bean-field at the other end of the town. and yet a seamless cope remained. and reminded me of a march of crusaders in the horizon. brought me information of the "trainers. This was one of the great days. his amateur Paganini performances on one string or on twenty.for I sometimes made a day of it -. and some waifs of martial music occasionally penetrate thus far. torn at last to very rags and tatters. and I remembered with as much pity as pride. and that now their minds were bent on the honey with which it was smeared. if I remembered at all. It was a cheap sort of top dressing in which I had entire faith. I felt proud to know that the liberties of Massachusetts and of our fatherland were in such safe keeping. as if some eruption would break out there soon. But sometimes it was a really noble and inspiring strain that reached these woods. On gala days the town fires its great guns. I disturbed the ashes of unchronicled nations who in primeval years lived under these heavens.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 67 pull it up.like a mote in the eye. as leaves are raised by the wind to float in the heavens. And when the sound died quite away. which echo like popguns to these woods. As I drew a still fresher soil about the rows with my hoe. that music echoed to the woods and the sky. The hawk is aerial brother of the wave which he sails over and surveys. the big guns sounded as if a puffball had burst. They lay mingled with other natural stones. and the most favorable breezes told no tale." But this was not corn. alternately soaring and descending. nor I that hoed beans. and also bits of pottery and glass brought hither by the recent cultivators of the soil. and I saw no difference in it. with a slight tantivy and tremulous motion of the elm tree tops which overhang the village." It seemed by the distant hum as if somebody's bees had swarmed. and as I turned to my hoeing again I was filled with an inexpressible confidence. though the sky had from my clearing only the same everlastingly great look that it wears daily. such kindredship is in nature. and when there was a military turnout of which I was ignorant. and pursued my labor cheerfully with a calm trust in the future. these sounds and sights I heard and saw anywhere in the row. and I felt as if I could spit a Mexican with a good relish -. according to Virgil's advice. and so it was safe from such enemies as he. those his perfect air-inflated wings answering to the elemental unfledged pinions of the sea. have to do with your planting. When my hoe tinkled against the stones.

. has a certain magnetism in it.. perchance..40 Turnip seed ..54 Plowing. and picking over and selling them -. I was determined to know beans.that's sorrel -. as Sir Kenelm Digby thinks likely.have at him.... fell before my weapon and rolled in the dust.... "there being in truth. 3... and was paid for it in the end.it will bear some iteration in the account.... for there was no little iteration in the labor -..... 0.... this being one of those "worn-out and exhausted lay fields which enjoy their sabbath... with the other farmers of New England. all dungings and other sordid temperings being but the vicars succedaneous to this improvement.... I thus.that's piper-grass -. and is the logic of all the labor and stir we keep about it..... for I am by nature a Pythagorean.. chop him up....00 Horse and cart to get crop ....... That's Roman wormwood -......I might add eating. devoted to husbandry. for it is complained that Mr.. by which it attracts the salt. whether they mean porridge or voting.... to serve a parable-maker one day..... Beans for seed . which.. I harvested twelve bushels of beans.... It was on the whole a rare amusement.75 -------- .... repastination.. power..... "no compost or laetation whatsoever comparable to this continual motion.... I hoed them unusualy well as far as I went. and others to trade in London or New York.. Many a lusty crest -. not with cranes.-For a hoe .....Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 68 hoeing.. Not that I wanted beans to eat.33 Peas for seed .... and commonly spent the rest of the day about other affairs.............. and sedulously cultivating another.. Coleman has reported chiefly the expensive experiments of gentlemen farmers......... 7.. But to be more particular. and making such invidious distinctions with his hoe...waving Hector.... $ 0.... I used to hoe from five o'clock in the morning till noon. harrowing. or virtue (call it either) which gives it life. "especially if fresh. Though I gave them no manure. for I did taste." as Evelyn says.. but with weeds............. that towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades. 0...... When they were growing." had perchance.....12+ Potatoes for seed . those Trojans who had sun and rain and dews on their side... turn his roots upward to the sun... and harvesting. as some must work in fields if only for the sake of tropes and expression....... and exchanged them for rice........ but.02 Horse cultivator and boy three hours ........" he adds elsewhere. 0.... and others to contemplation in India....that's pigweed -.. and threshing. Consider the intimate and curious acquaintance one makes with various kinds of weeds -. and turning of the mould with the spade. and furrowing ...... continued too long. and did not hoe them all once..... filling up the trenches with weedy dead.the last was the hardest of all -. so far as beans are concerned. and thin the ranks of their enemies. 1..50 Too much......." Moreover......." "The earth...... my outgoes were.. attracted "vital spirits" from the air.. might have become a dissipation...... don't let him have a fibre in the shade. Those summer days which some of my contemporaries devoted to the fine arts in Boston or Rome.... levelling whole ranks of one species. to sustain us. 1.. 0..... if you do he'll turn himself t' other side up and be as green as a leek in two days..disturbing their delicate organizations so ruthlessly..... A long war.06 White line for crow fence . Daily the beans saw me come to their rescue armed with a hoe...

. Most men I do not meet at all...Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor In all . Then look out for woodchucks.. if you would escape frosts and have a fair and salable crop. We should never cheat and insult and banish one another by our meanness. but partially risen out of the earth...... and not for himself to lie down in! But why should not the New Englander try new adventures... and again.. but now another summer is gone..... and I am obliged to say to you... or timid...... and another. along the road. Our ambassadors should be instructed to send home such seeds as these. Here comes such a subtile and ineffable quality...... and another. and not be concerned at all about a new generation of men? We should really be fed and cheered if when we met a man we were sure to see that some of the qualities which I have named.. 0. Reader... We should never stand upon ceremony with sincerity.. something more than erect.... but which are for the most part broadcast and floating in the air. in rows three feet by eighteen inches apart... as I have elsewhere said...... and so did not come up. if it is an exposed place. to my astonishment. which we all prize more than those other productions... if indeed they were the seeds of those virtues...... though the slightest amount or new variety of it...... as truth or justice... but such seeds..00 Stalks . I will not plant beans and corn with so much industry another summer.... and his orchards -. Alas! I said this to myself. This generation is very sure to plant corn and beans each new year precisely as the Indians did centuries ago and taught the first settlers to do...71+ 69 This is the result of my experience in raising beans: Plant the common small white bush bean about the first of June......50 Nine " small ................... that the seeds which I planted....... $16. simplicity.. for they will nibble off the earliest tender leaves almost clean as they go...75 ------In all ...... faith. truth.. as sincerity..... $14. 1....... $ 8. leaning on a hoe or a spade as a staff between his work.. for surely it has not been exhausted for these crops. for instance.......... being careful to select fresh round and unmixed seed.. as if there were a fate in it.. and see if they will not grow in this soil...... and the like... and will shear them off with both buds and young pods... had taken root and grown in him.... First look out for worms.25 Grass ........ for they seem not to have time.. you may save much loss by this means.... if there were present the kernel of worth and friendliness....... We would not deal with a man thus plodding ever..raise other crops than these? Why concern ourselves so much about our beans for seed..... and Congress help to distribute them over all the land.... sitting erect like a squirrel. even with less toil and manurance.. they are busy about their beans... from Nine bushels and twelve quarts of beans sold . and not lay so much stress on his grain. and supply vacancies by planting anew... I saw an old man the other day.72+ My income was (patrem familias vendacem.. non emacem esse oportet)... 2. like .... Commonly men will only be brave as their fathers were brave... they have notice of it.94 Five " large potatoes ... of . $23... We should not meet thus in haste.. and sustain me........ were wormeaten or had lost their vitality.. This further experience also I gained: I said to myself.....44 Leaving a pecuniary profit.... making the holes with a hoe for the seventieth time at least.... when the young tendrils make their appearance.. 2...... his potato and grass crop.......... not as a mushroom.. innocence.. if the seed is not lost... But above all harvest as early as possible.

the landscape is deformed. or salt and meal and other groceries. and harvest that in the fall of the year? This broad field which I have looked at so long looks not to me as the principal cultivator. I usually bathed again in the pond. the news. and on one side. husbandry is degraded with us. bearing) is not all that it bears. from spe. that husbandry was once a sacred art. from which none of us is free. The village appeared to me a great news room. nor procession. or smoothed out the last wrinkle which study had made. by which the farmer expresses a sense of the sacredness of his calling. and finish his labor with every day. to support it. How. in the forenoon. nor ceremony. it even takes stiffness out of our joints. Every day or two I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there. when we knew not what ailed us. and according to Varro the old Romans "called the same earth Mother and Ceres. obsoletely speca. then. or is reminded of its sacred origin. they kept nuts and raisins. or from newspaper to newspaper. These beans have results which are not harvested by me. and the farmer leads the meanest of lives. and the former make but a small part of the glorious picture which he beholds in his daily course. Cato says that the profits of agriculture are particularly pious or just (maximeque pius quaestus). circulating either from mouth to mouth. Some have such a vast appetite for the former commodity. Do they not grow for woodchucks partly? The ear of wheat (in Latin spica. or perhaps reading and writing. his wings would now and then Spread. and such sound . so I walked in the village to see the men and boys. hope) should not be the only hope of the husbandman. as he meant to fly. that is. The Village After hoeing. or the means of acquiring property chiefly. but it always does us good. which water and make it green. and which. taken in homoeopathic doses. to share any unmixed and heroic joy. In his view the earth is all equally cultivated like a garden. It is the premium and the feast which tempt him. and thought that they who cultivated it led a pious and useful life. As I walked in the woods to see the birds and squirrels. and for the afternoon was absolutely free. as curious to me as if they had been prairie-dogs. or running over to a neighbor's to gossip. our object being to have large farms and large crops merely. but to the infernal Plutus rather. can our harvest fail? Shall I not rejoice also at the abundance of the weeds whose seeds are the granary of the birds? It matters little comparatively whether the fields fill the farmer's barns. He sacrifices not to Ceres and the Terrestrial Jove. at least. and a grovelling habit. Therefore we should receive the benefit of his light and heat with a corresponding trust and magnanimity. as the squirrels manifest no concern whether the woods will bear chestnuts this year or not. We have no festival. and sacrificing in his mind not only his first but his last fruits also. He knows Nature but as a robber. of regarding the soil as property. relinquishing all claim to the produce of his fields. swimming across one of its coves for a stint. and that they alone were left of the race of King Saturn. They all reflect and absorb his rays alike. The true husbandman will cease from anxiety. not excepting our cattle-shows and so-called Thanksgivings. instead of the wind among the pines I heard the carts rattle. What though I value the seed of these beans. then close again --" 70 so that we should suspect that we might be conversing with an angel. its kernel or grain (granum from gerendo. Bread may not always nourish us. and washed the dust of labor from my person. to recognize any generosity in man or Nature. but away from me to influences more genial to it. as once at Redding & Company's on State Street. Ancient poetry and mythology suggest. I went there frequently to observe their habits." We are wont to forget that the sun looks on our cultivated fields and on the prairies and forests without distinction. In one direction from my house there was a colony of muskrats in the river meadows.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor swallows alighted and walking on the ground:-"And as he spake. but it is pursued with irreverent haste and heedlessness by us. under the grove of elms and buttonwoods in the other horizon was a village of busy men. By avarice and selfishness. and makes us supple and buoyant. each sitting at the mouth of its burrow. was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle of leaves and the peeping of frogs.

where I was well entertained. some to catch him by the appetite. invariably. These are the coarsest mills. and company expected about these times. where there was no cart-path. when my feet felt the path which my eyes could not see. Signs were hung out on all sides to allure him. They. as the saying is. drowned the voices of the Sirens. and after learning the kernels and very last sieveful of news -. I was even accustomed to make an irruption into some houses. I had many a genial thought by the cabin fire "as I sailed. Sometimes. heard whatever was in the wind. as the hand finds its way to the mouth without assistance. passing between two pines for instance. and then point out to him the direction he was to pursue. and I have thought that perhaps my body would find its way home if its master should forsake it. and nobody could tell my whereabouts. they kept a bell.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 71 digestive organs. dreaming and absent-minded all the way. though I encountered some severe storms. and child might get a lick at him. and the leaves were very wet. and.I was let out through the rear avenues. It was very pleasant. who. Several times. I have heard of many going astray even in the village streets. than most suppose. and the houses were so arranged as to make the most of mankind. not more than eighteen inches apart.without affecting the consciousness. or steer by the known relation of particular trees which I felt with my hands." I was never cast away nor distressed in any weather. close by their own premises. or even tying up the helm when it was plain sailing. either sitting on a ladder sunning themselves. as the dry goods store and the jeweller's. and a fire-engine. and kept out of danger. having made all tight without and withdrawn under hatches with a merry crew of thoughts. when I rambled through the village. leaving only my outer man at the helm. as is recommended to those who run the gauntlet. Of course. Some who live in the outskirts. some by the fancy. with a bag of rye or Indian meal upon my shoulder. and so escape. where long gaps in the line began to occur. It is darker in the woods. where they could most see and be seen. with a voluptuous expression. and were quite used to the route. it only producing numbness and insensibility to pain -. I frequently had to look up at the opening between the trees above the path in order to learn my route. or the tailor. until I was aroused by having to raise my hand to lift the latch. and the bank. paid the highest prices for their places. "loudly singing the praises of the gods to his lyre. for my snug harbor in the woods. and let it simmer and whisper through them like the Etesian winds. there was a still more terrible standing invitation to call at every one of these houses. in lanes and fronting one another. in which all gossip is first rudely digested or cracked up before it is emptied into finer and more delicate hoppers within doors. from time to time. I observed that the vitals of the village were the grocery. in the darkest night. as there had been several heavy showers in the meanwhile. and the traveller could get over walls or turn aside into cow-paths. when a visitor chanced to stay into evening. in the midst of the woods. as the tavern and victualling cellar. after coming home thus late in a dark and muggy night. and. and set sail from some bright village parlor or lecture room. the post-office. I have not been able to recall a single step of my walk. and never hesitated at a gap in a fence. One very dark night I directed thus on their way two young men who had been fishing in the pond. for I did not stand much about gracefulness. paid a very slight ground or window tax. or by keeping my thoughts on high things. They lived about a mile off through the woods. to feel with my feet the faint track which I had worn. being commonly out of doors. at convenient places. a big gun. as if to prop it up. and did not get home till toward morning. to see a row of such worthies. even in common nights. and in keeping which he was to be guided rather by his feet than his eyes. woman. . and the few straggling inhabitants in the outskirts. I hardly ever failed. by which time. as the barber. For the most part I escaped wonderfully from these dangers. they were drenched to their skins. as a necessary part of the machinery. and others by the hair or the feet or the skirts. those who were stationed nearest to the head of the line. like Orpheus. especially if it was dark and tempestuous. the prospects of war and peace. and so escaped to the woods again. or else leaning against a barn with their hands in their pockets. when the darkness was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. and it proved a dark night.what had subsided. I was obliged to conduct him to the cart-path in the rear of the house. or as if inhaling ether. and whether the world was likely to hold together much longer -. so that every traveller had to run the gauntlet. to launch myself into the night. that they can sit forever in public avenues without stirring. and have the first blow at him.otherwise it would often be painful to bear -." Sometimes I bolted suddenly. like caryatides. when I stayed late in town. Besides. the shoemaker. either by proceeding at once boldly and without deliberation to the goal. and every man. the bar-room. A day or two after one of them told me that they wandered about the greater part of the night. with their bodies inclined forward and their eyes glancing along the line this way and that.

The tired rambler could rest and warm himself by my fire. that if all men were to live as simply as I then did. and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations. I had no lock nor bolt but for the desk which held my papers. near the end of the first summer." The Ponds Sometimes. and not till we are completely lost. into yet more unfrequented parts of the town. which perhaps was improperly gilded." or. I did not pay a tax to.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 72 having come to town a-shopping in their wagons. Often in a snow-storm. a volume of Homer. I suffered no serious inconvenience from these sources. though unconsciously. though many people of every class came this way to the pond. Though he knows that he has travelled it a thousand times. but I preferred that society should run "amok" against me. we are constantly. But. Faginus astabat dum scyphus ante dapes. wherever a man goes. "to fresh woods and pastures new. one will come out upon a well-known road and yet find it impossible to tell which way leads to the village. The Pope's Homers would soon get properly distributed. by opening my closet door. but it is as strange to him as if it were a road in Siberia. It is a surprising and memorable. and gentlemen and ladies making a call have gone half a mile out of their way. thieving and robbery would be unknown. when I went to the village to get a shoe from the cobbler's. I rambled still farther westward than I habitually dwell. In our most trivial walks. One afternoon. By night. and what prospect I had of a supper. at the door of its senate-house. constrain him to belong to their desperate odd-fellow society. or turned round -. Not till we are lost. though I was to be absent several days. the virtues of a common man are like the grass -I the grass.do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature. I never fastened my door night or day. steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and headlands. I was never molested by any person but those who represented the State. to be lost in the woods any time. of course. women.for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost -. and the people will be virtuous. and returned to the woods in season to get my dinner of huckleberries on Fair Haven Hill. what need have you to employ punishments? Love virtue. When only beechen bowls were in request. or recognize the authority of. if they can. and worn out all my village friends. because. These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough. and children. not even when the next fall I spent a fortnight in the woods of Maine. might have run "amok" against society. while the sun was setting. whether from sleep or any abstraction. the literary amuse himself with the few books on my table. the State which buys and sells men. and this I trust a soldier of our camp has found by this time. "Nec bella fuerunt. he cannot recognize a feature in it. and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape. I had gone down to the woods for other purposes. Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as be awakes. made my supper of huckleberries and blueberries on Fair . feeling the sidewalk only with their feet. as I have elsewhere related. and not knowing when they turned. as well as valuable experience." "You who govern public affairs. do we begin to find ourselves. the perplexity is infinitely greater. I am convinced. have been obliged to put up for the night." "Nor wars did men molest. It is true. and I never missed anything but one small book. not even a nail to put over my latch or windows. in other words not till we have lost the world. and. having had a surfeit of human society and gossip. it being the desperate party. even by day. I might have resisted forcibly with more or less effect. like cattle. The virtues of a superior man are like the wind. I was released the next day. Yet. And yet my house was more respected than if it had been surrounded by a file of soldiers. see what was left of my dinner. I was seized and put into jail. when the wind passes over it. obtained my mended shoe. However. or the curious. men will pursue and paw him with their dirty institutions. bends.

serenaded by owls and foxes. hovering around me. until I elicited a growl from every wooded vale and hillside. from time to time. after staying in a village parlor till the family had all retired. as was commonly the case. who was pleased to look upon my house as a building erected for the convenience of fishermen. As long as Eternal Justice reigns. Once in a while we sat together on the pond. There was one older man. If you would know the flavor of huckleberries.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Haven Hill. when your thoughts had wandered to vast and cosmogonal themes in other spheres. The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale. in dark summer nights. ask the cowboy or the partridge. for he had grown deaf in his later years. and we were suddenly groping in total darkness. I joined some impatient companion who had been fishing on the pond since morning. which came to interrupt your dreams and link you to Nature again. and when we had done. A huckleberry never reaches Boston. It is a clear and deep green well. The ambrosial and essential part of the fruit is lost with the bloom which is rubbed off in the market cart. but not many words passed between us. I had none to commune with. he at one end of the boat. a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods. by the time I arrived. and. surrounded sometimes by thousands of small perch and shiners. When. I have returned to the woods. which I seem to have charmed. Through this. nor to him who raises them for the market. had concluded commonly. and saw the perch. some horned pout squeaking and squirming to the upper air. It seemed as if I might next cast my line upward into the air. The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to the height of forty to eighty feet. especially in dark nights. though very beautiful. and slow to make up its mind. There is but one way to obtain it. of dull uncertain blundering purpose there. It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them. and I was equally pleased when he sat in my doorway to arrange his lines. whistling a tune. At length you slowly raise. and. and I at the other. pulling hand over hand. but he occasionally hummed a psalm. as silent and motionless as a duck or a floating leaf. and. and they become mere provender. In warm evenings I frequently sat in the boat playing the flute. or sometimes dragging sixty feet of line about the pond as I drifted in the gentle night breeze. stirring them up as the keeper of a menagerie his wild beasts. Thus I caught two fishes as it were with one hook. making a fire close to the water's edge. which was strewed with the wrecks of the forest. which. and. far in the night. an excellent fisher and skilled in all kinds of woodcraft. to feel this faint jerk. and hearing. though on . But now I had made my home by the shore. without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and evaporation. dimpling the surface with their tails in the moonlight. I used to raise the echoes by striking with a paddle on the side of my boat. we caught pouts with a bunch of worms strung on a thread. and twenty or thirty rods from the shore. which we thought attracted the fishes. Our intercourse was thus altogether one of unbroken harmony. after practising various kinds of philosophy. and communicating by a long flaxen line with mysterious nocturnal fishes which had their dwelling forty feet below. and laid up a store for several days. yet this pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description. as well as downward into this element. which harmonized well enough with my philosophy. with a companion. threw the burning brands high into the air like skyrockets. were quenched with a loud hissing. partly with a view to the next day's dinner. and contains about sixty-one and a half acres. spent the hours of midnight fishing from a boat by moonlight. now and then feeling a slight vibration along it. that he belonged to the ancient sect of Coenobites. nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore. 73 Occasionally. from time to time.anchored in forty feet of water. far more pleasing to remember than if it had been carried on by speech. not one innocent huckleberry can be transported thither from the country's hills. coming down into the pond. we took our way to the haunts of men again. and the moon travelling over the ribbed bottom. yet few take that way. Formerly I had come to this pond adventurously. does not approach to grandeur. It was very queer. These experiences were very memorable and valuable to me -. they have not been known there since they grew on her three hills. indicative of some life prowling about its extremity. the creaking note of some unknown bird close at hand. half a mile long and a mile and three quarters in circumference. filling the surrounding woods with circling and dilating sound. after my hoeing was done for the day. The fruits do not yield their true flavor to the purchaser of them. Sometimes. which was scarcely more dense.

which last appeared but muddy in comparison. but this water is of such crystalline purity that the body of the bather appears of an alabaster whiteness. Yet a single glass of its water held up to the light is as colorless as an equal quantity of air. if I had not disturbed it. especially if agitated. and a casual observer would say that there were no weeds at all in it. is said to be blue one day and green another without any perceptible change in the atmosphere. and you think that they must be ascetic fish that find a subsistence there. and were it not for its remarkable transparency. and. as the limbs are magnified and distorted withal. Making another hole directly over it with an ice chisel which I had. but near at hand it is of a yellowish tint next the shore where you can see the sand." but a small piece of the same will be colorless. more proper. standing on its head. and also transmitted through the earth. and at a great distance all appear alike. to its "body. Some think it is bottomless. I have seen our river. like those patches of the winter sky seen through cloud vistas in the west before sundown. they appear blue at a little distance. close at hand. it is of a vivid green next the shore. as if some evil genius had directed it. the landscape being covered with snow. I have discerned a matchless and indescribable light blue. and so pulled the axe out again. and another. Out of curiosity. one when viewed at a distance. excepting one or two short sand beaches. The water of our river is black or a very dark brown to one looking directly down on it. where in the spring. and is so steep that in many places a single leap will carry you into water over your head. and it may be simply the result of the prevailing blue mixed with the yellow of the sand. the ice being warmed by the heat of the sun reflected from the bottom. In some lights. viewed even from a hilltop. many feet beneath the surface. imparts to the body of one bathing in it a yellowish tinge. How large a body of Walden water would be required to reflect a green tint I have never proved. and there it might have stood erect and swaying till in the course of time the handle rotted off. you may see. in clear weather. within a quarter and a third of a mile. in summer. before the leaves are expanded. Walden is blue at one time and green at another. more cerulean than the sky itself. which gradually deepens to a uniform dark green in the body of the pond. and.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 74 the southeast and east they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet respectively. still more unnatural. when I had been cutting holes through the ice in order to catch pickerel. when. even from the same point of view. and of noticeable plants. such as watered or changeable silks and sword blades suggest. Lying between the earth and the heavens. both water and ice were almost as green as grass. and in the spring. when much agitated. they are seen to be of very different colors. as the makers say. however. It is well known that a large plate of glass will have a green tint. They are exclusively woodland. It is nowhere muddy. Viewed from a hilltop it reflects the color of the sky. whether liquid or solid. owing. except in the little meadows recently overflowed. and follows the sky. produces a monstrous effect. the schools of perch and shiners. The sea. so as to see the reflection. or because there is more light mixed with it. also. and looking with divided vision. perhaps only an inch long." But. In stormy weather they are sometimes of a dark slate-color. that would be the last to be seen of its bottom till it rose on the opposite side. being on its surface. and drew it by a line along the birch. The water is so transparent that the bottom can easily be discerned at the depth of twenty-five or thirty feet. In clear weather. alternating with the original dark green on the opposite sides of the waves. it slid four or five rods directly into one of the holes. making fit studies for a Michael Angelo. in the winter. Like the rest of our waters. Once. like that of most ponds. looking directly down into our waters from a boat. and cutting down the longest birch which I could find in the neighborhood with my knife. melts first and forms a narrow canal about the still frozen middle. it appears at a little distance of a darker blue than the sky itself. yet the former easily distinguished by their transverse bars. so that the surface of the waves may reflect the sky at the right angle. as I remember it. as I stepped ashore I tossed my axe back on to the ice. All our Concord waters have two colors at least. I lay down on the ice and looked through the hole. until I saw the axe a little on one side. which I attached to its end. which. with its helve erect and gently swaying to and fro with the pulse of the pond. and at such a time. it partakes of the color of both. where the water was twenty-five feet deep. This is that portion. letting it down carefully. but. Paddling over it. many years ago. The first depends more on the light. I made a slip-noose. but it is equally green there against the railroad sandbank. passed it over the knob of the handle. Some have referred this to the reflection of the verdure. The shore is composed of a belt of smooth rounded white stones like paving-stones. then a light green. Some consider blue "to be the color of pure water. Such is the color of its iris. which do . It is a vitreous greenish blue.

approaching and receding from the water's edge. probably from the decay of the leaves which have been wafted on to it so many successive falls. as it were. Who knows in how many unremembered nations' literatures this has been the Castalian Fountain? or what nymphs presided over it in the Golden Age? It is a gem of the first water which Concord wears in her coronet. which it has not been possible to do for twenty-five years. that a few years later I was accustomed to fish from a boat in a secluded cove in the woods. in the summer of '52. just after a light snow has fallen. The stones extend a rod or two into the water. and others -. of six or seven feet. which place was long since converted into a meadow. worn by the feet of aboriginal hunters. birches. which had not heard of the fall. and fathomed it. about two and a half miles westerly. though it makes it difficult to walk round it. as usual. Successive nations perchance have drank at. falling again. a mile eastward. is just five feet higher than when I lived there. There is a narrow sand-bar running into it. This is particularly distinct to one standing on the middle of the pond in winter. and this overflow must be referred to causes which affect the deep springs. my friends used to listen with incredulity when I told them. and perhaps a water-target or two. aspens. though I am acquainted with most of the ponds within a dozen miles of this centre I do not know a third of this pure and well-like character. alders. This rise and fall of Walden at long intervals serves this use at least. sympathize with Walden. Not an intermitting spring! Perhaps on that spring morning when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in existence. though. the water standing at this great height for a year or more. and covered with myriads of ducks and geese. with very deep water on one side. I can remember when it was a foot or two lower. The ornamented grounds of villas which will one day be built here may still preserve some trace of this. appears thus to require many years for its accomplishment. and also when it was at least five feet higher. than when I lived by it.pitch pines. appearing as a clear undulating white line. But the pond has risen steadily for two years. but whether regularly or not. all which however a bather might not perceive. but only a few small heart-leaves and potamogetons. and within what period. allowing for the disturbance occasioned by its inlets and outlets. and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain accompanied with mist and a southerly wind. and passed away. nobody knows. for. some six rods from the main shore. where there is usually a little sediment. but. and these plants are clean and bright like the element they grow in. a narrow shelf-like path in the steep hillside. whether periodical or not. and I expect that a dozen or fifteen years hence the water will again be as low as I have ever known it. The snow reprints it. This same summer the pond has begun to fall again.and. The same is true. unlike many ponds and all waters which are subject to a daily tide. of White Pond. kills the shrubs and trees which have sprung up about its edge since the last rise -. or as high as it was thirty years ago. unobscured by weeds and twigs. The pond rises and falls. leaves an unobstructed shore. nor even a lily. and then the bottom is pure sand. It is commonly higher in the winter and lower in the summer. even where a thick wood has just been cut down on the shore. on the other hand. It is remarkable that this fluctuation. and still from time to time unwittingly trodden by the present occupants of the land. at the outside. and had clarified its waters and colored them of the hue they now wear. White Pond. and very obvious a quarter of a mile off in many places where in summer it is hardly distinguishable close at hand. and the smaller intermediate ponds also. yellow or white. a closer scrutiny does not detect a flag nor a bulrush. as old probably as the race of man here. about the year 1824. and obtained a patent of Heaven to be the only Walden Pond in the world and distiller of celestial dews. and recently attained their greatest height at the same time with the latter. We have one other pond just like this. and a bright green weed is brought up on anchors even in midwinter. Yet perchance the first who came to this well have left some trace of their footsteps. its shore is . when still such pure lakes sufficed them. many pretend to know. on which I helped boil a kettle of chowder. Flint's Pond. admired. though not corresponding to the general wet and dryness. as far as my observation goes. This makes a difference of level. fifteen rods from the only shore they knew. and yet the water shed by the surrounding hills is insignificant in amount. and still its water is green and pellucid as ever. and fishing goes on again in the meadow. I have observed one rise and a part of two falls. I have been surprised to detect encircling the pond. Even then it had commenced to rise and fall.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 75 not properly belong to it. and. except in the deepest parts. and now. in clear white type alto-relievo. alternately rising and falling. in Nine Acre Corner.

In the warmest weather I usually placed a pailful in my cellar. as the story goes. fifteen feet high. It licks its chaps from time to time. which I mention here chiefly to link my facts to fable. If the name was not derived from that of some English locality -Saffron Walden. In the winter. but I observe that the surrounding hills are remarkably full of the same kind of stones. are its chief boast. The temperature of the pond water which had stood in the room where I sat from five o'clock in the afternoon till noon the next day. saw a thin vapor rising from the sward. though this vice is one of which the Indians were never guilty. needs only bury a pail of water a few feet deep in the shade of his camp to be independent of the luxury of ice. I detect the paver. and only one old squaw. -. that once there was no pond here. and thus the shore is shorn. The temperature of the Boiling Spring the same day was 45x. On the side of the pond next my house a row of pitch pines. and he concluded to dig a well here. somewhat dace-like in its character.one might suppose that it was called originally Walled-in Pond. It has been conjectured that when the hill shook these stones rolled down its side and became the present shore. and their size indicates how many years have elapsed since the last rise to this height. My townsmen have all heard the tradition -. moreover. These are the lips of the lake. who remembers so well when he first came here with his divining-rod. willows. There have been caught in Walden pickerel. with silvery sides and a greenish back. the thermometer having been up to 65x or 70x some of the time. which rose as high into the heavens as the pond now sinks deep into the earth. escaped. Walden never becomes so warm as most water which is exposed to the sun. most like those caught in the river.to say nothing of another which carried off a reel with great velocity. It is very certain. all water which is exposed to the air is colder than springs and wells which are protected from it. one weighing four pounds -. beside. and I think that it is then as good as any. where it became cool in the night. in the town. owing partly to the sun on the roof. I have a faint recollection of a little fish some five inches long. with greenish reflections and remarkably deep. for instance -.I am thus particular because the weight of a fish is commonly its only title to fame. which the fisherman safely set down at eight pounds because he did not see him -. bear an abundant crop under these circumstances. many still think that they are hardly to be accounted for by the action of the waves on these hills. steel-colored. and now there is one. the alders. on which no beard grows. The pond was my well ready dug. a bright golden kind. and while they were thus engaged the hill shook and suddenly sank. this pond is not very fertile in fish. unfortunately. and a couple of eels.the oldest people tell me that they heard it in their youth -. and from her the pond was named. a very few breams. it is no longer a mystery to me. Moreover. Some have been puzzled to tell how the shore became so regularly paved. By this fluctuation the pond asserts its title to a shore. so that. and thus a stop put to their encroachments. Whoever camps for a week in summer by the shore of a pond. shallow and stagnant surface water is not mingled with it.perch and pouts. the sixth of March. shiners. has been killed and tipped over as if by a lever. there are most stones where the shore is most abrupt. so that they have been obliged to pile them up in walls on both sides of the railroad cut nearest the pond. one weighing seven pounds -. When the water is at its height. and the hazel pointed steadily downward. and this Indian fable does not in any respect conflict with the account of that ancient settler whom I have mentioned. and I have known the high blueberry bushes about the shore. I have seen at one time lying on the ice pickerel of at least three different kinds: a long and shallow one. on account of its depth. though it is the coldest that I know of in summer. and to the height of three or four feet from the ground. when. in the effort to maintain themselves. and maples send forth a mass of fibrous red roots several feet long from all sides of their stems in the water. or one degree colder than the water of one of the coldest wells in the village just drawn. which commonly produce no fruit. if not the best. 1846. and these are the only eels I have heard of here.also. which is the most . was 42x. and had no taste of the pump. named Walden. and the trees cannot hold it by right of possession. chivins or roach (Leuciscus pulchellus).that anciently the Indians were holding a pow-wow upon a hill here. Nevertheless. For four months in the year its water is as cold as it is pure at all times. or the warmest of any water tried. some of each weighing over two pounds. and remained so during the day. though I also resorted to a spring in the neighborhood. Its pickerel. As for the stones.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 76 cleanest when the water is lowest. though not abundant. and they used much profanity. It was as good when a week old as the day it was dipped. in summer. at any rate. and.

It is earth's eye. or here and there. but. as it were by mistake. Perhaps they are the nests of the chivin. and shaped like the last. and there is one bright flash where it emerges. I know not by what fish they could be made. It may be that in the distance a fish describes an arc of three or four feet in the air. and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows. and are undeceived. Probably many ichthyologists would make new varieties of some of them. looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. You may see from a boat. at equal intervals scattered over its whole extent. they sank to the bottom. golden-colored. and each sends forth its most vigorous branch in that direction. and if. and indeed all the fishes which inhabit this pond. and perch also. in a calm September afternoon. These are all the animals of consequence which frequent it now. The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it. At first you wonder if the Indians could have formed them on the ice for any purpose. There are few traces of man's hand to be seen. it is literally as smooth as glass. I have in my mind's eye the western. is a thistle-down floating on its surface. sometimes the whole silvery arc is revealed. the white-bellied swallows (Hirundo bicolor) skim over it. At most. Indeed. It is like molten glass . it looks like a thread of finest gossamer stretched across the valley. a duck plumes itself. handsomer. where the water is eight or ten feet deep. and that the swallows which skim over might perch on it. you survey its surface critically. Sometimes. but I doubt if it is ever profaned by the wind of a gull. pouts. in calm weather. The specific name reticulatus would not apply to this. as when seen from the middle of a small lake amid hills which rise from the water's edge. when the ice melted. as where the axe has cleared a part. and firmer-fleshed than those in the river and most other ponds. between the two. intermixed with a few faint blood-red ones. and so. Ducks and geese frequent it in the spring and fall. They are similar to those found in rivers. or. As you look over the pond westward you are obliged to employ both your hands to defend your eyes against the reflected as well as the true sun. or a cultivated field abuts on it. The trees have ample room to expand on the water side. Standing on the smooth sandy beach at the east end of the pond. and a few mussels in it. The shore is irregular enough not to be monotonous. and also in some other parts of the pond. the bolder northern. near the sandy eastern shore. where successive capes overlap each other and suggest unexplored coves between." When you invert your head. I have sometimes disturbed a fish hawk sitting on a white pine over the water. when I pushed off my boat in the morning. separating one stratum of the atmosphere from another. very much like a trout. indented with deep bays. are much cleaner. A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. There are also a clean race of frogs and tortoises. the most natural and agreeable boundary to it. but peppered on the sides with small dark brown or black spots. as I have said. a swallow skims so low as to touch it. and they can easily be distinguished from them. it tolerates one annual loon. but they are too regular and some of them plainly too fresh for that. or. and weigh more than their size promises. nor is so distinctly beautiful. You would think that you could walk dry under it to the opposite hills. they sometimes dive below this line. and another where it strikes the water. consisting of small stones less than a hen's egg in size. These lend a pleasing mystery to the bottom. These are all very firm fish. for the water in which it is reflected not only makes the best foreground in such a case. for they are equally bright. There is no rawness nor imperfection in its edge there. perchance. and occasionally a travelling mud-turtle visits it. with its winding shore. and another. "the glassy surface of a lake. which the fishes dart at and so dimple it again. I have seen whence came the expression. as the water is purer. and the eye rises by just gradations from the low shrubs of the shore to the highest trees. and gleaming against the distant pine woods. it should be guttatus rather.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 77 common here. The forest has never so good a setting. when a slight haze makes the opposite shore-line indistinct. but as there are no suckers nor lampreys here. by their motions in the sun produce the finest imaginable sparkle on it. muskrats and minks leave their traces about it. some circular heaps half a dozen feet in diameter by a foot in height. and the peetweets (Totanus macularius) "teeter" along its stony shores all summer. and the beautifully scalloped southern shore. There Nature has woven a natural selvage. where all around is bare sand. The shiners. I disturbed a great mud-turtle which had secreted himself under the boat in the night. perhaps. like Fair Haven. The water laves the shore as it did a thousand years ago. except where the skater insects.

whose gilding Nature continually repairs. and gave a ribbed appearance to the reflections. but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface. Paddling gently to one of these places. when the sky was still completely overcast and the air was full of mist. about five inches long. apparently improving the short season before winter would draw an icy . sometimes leaving bubbles on it. and at the same time so large. whose quicksilver will never wear off.which retains no breath that is breathed on it. the slight undulations produced by my boat extended almost as far as I could see. From a hilltop you can see a fish leap in almost any part. and their swimming impressed me as a kind of flight or hovering. their fins. as a lake. the surface. for they furrow the water slightly. How peaceful the phenomena of the lake! Again the works of man shine as in the spring. though it no longer reflected the bright tints of October.a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks. no storms. on one of those fine days in the fall when all the warmth of the sun is fully appreciated. set all around them. and study the dimpling circles which are incessantly inscribed on its otherwise invisible surface amid the reflected skies and trees. boom of the water nymphs. Nothing so fair. perchance. and the few motes in it are pure and beautiful like the imperfections in glass. I observed that the pond was remarkably smooth. But. in lines of beauty. Not a fish can leap or an insect fall on the pond but it is thus reported in circling dimples. swept and dusted by the sun's hazy brush -. look down thus on the surface of air at length. how sweet the echo! In such a day. On land only the grass and trees wave. no dust. and if an oar falls. as if some skater insects which had escaped the frosts might be collected there. Sky water. making a conspicuous ripple bounded by two diverging lines.this piscine murder will out -. Though I passed over it as gently as possible. You may often detect a yet smoother and darker water. I was surprised to find myself surrounded by myriads of small perch. when the severe frosts have come. One November afternoon. there is absolutely nothing to ripple the surface. Over this great expanse there is no disturbance but it is thus at once gently smoothed away and assuaged. Ay. It is continually receiving new life and motion from above. in September or October. and then and in November. in a calm day. sporting there. in the calm at the end of a rain-storm of several days' duration. It is remarkable that we can look down on its surface. and be reflected in its bosom still. A field of water betrays the spirit that is in the air. resting on it. betrayed where a spring welled up from the bottom. like sails. so pure. Nations come and go without defiling it. We shall. the heaving of its breast. The skaters and water-bugs finally disappear in the latter part of October. separated from the rest as if by an invisible cobweb. the gentle pulsing of its life. The thrills of joy and thrills of pain are undistinguishable. and constantly rising to the surface and dimpling it. reflecting the clouds. of a rich bronze color in the green water. It needs no fence. Walden is a perfect forest mirror. overlooking the pond. but the water itself is rippled by the wind. in calm days. the trembling circles seek the shore and all is smooth again. I see where the breeze dashes across it by the streaks or flakes of light. being so smooth.and from my distant perch I distinguish the circling undulations when they are half a dozen rods in diameter. set round with stones as precious to my eye as if fewer or rarer. usually. to sit on a stump on such a height as this. as. as if they were a compact flock of birds passing just beneath my level on the right or left. so that it was difficult to distinguish its surface. You can even detect a water-bug (Gyrinus) ceaselessly progressing over the smooth surface a quarter of a mile off. Every motion of an oar or an insect produces a flash of light. -. as it were the constant welling up of its fountain. but apparently. It is intermediate in its nature between land and sky. When the surface is considerably agitated there are no skaters nor water-bugs on it. can dim its surface ever fresh. perhaps. It is wonderful with what elaborateness this simple fact is advertised -. It is a soothing employment. It is a mirror which no stone can crack.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 78 cooled but not congealed. lies on the surface of the earth. when a vase of water is jarred. for not a pickerel or shiner picks an insect from this smooth surface but it manifestly disturbs the equilibrium of the whole lake. and mark where a still subtler spirit sweeps over it. but the sombre November colors of the surrounding hills.this the light dust-cloth -. I saw here and there at a distance a faint glimmer. I seemed to be floating through the air as in a balloon. In such transparent and seemingly bottomless water. but the skaters glide over it without rippling it perceptibly. every leaf and twig and stone and cobweb sparkles now at mid-afternoon as when covered with dew in a spring morning. There were many such schools in the pond. or. perchance. they leave their havens and adventurously glide forth from the shore by short impulses till they completely cover it. as I was looking over the surface.

as you looked down from the west end. An old man who used to frequent this pond nearly sixty years ago. in sunny hours and summer days. He did not know whose it was. My Muse may be excused if she is silent henceforth. I saw some dimples on the surface.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 79 shutter over their broad skylight. and the villagers. It was very clumsy. and used an old log canoe which he found on the shore. and best preserves its purity. When I approached carelessly and alarmed them. sometimes giving to the surface an appearance as if a slight breeze struck it. the most proper vessel for the lake. but lasted a great many years before it became water-logged and perhaps sank to the bottom. which perchance had first been a tree on the bank. one year. The hills which form its shores are so steep. tells me that in those days he sometimes saw it all alive with ducks and other water-fowl. so I spent a dry afternoon after all. Sometimes it would come floating up to the shore. But since I left those shores the woodchoppers have still further laid them waste. and I saw their schools dimly disappearing. An old man. as if one had struck the water with a brushy bough. nor do I regret that I did not waste more of them in the workshop or the teacher's desk. for they were produced by the perch. and that there were many eagles about it. How can you expect the birds to sing when their groves are cut down? Now the trunks of trees on the bottom. which took the place of an Indian one of the same material but more graceful construction. that. it would go back into deep water and disappear. already the rain seemed rapidly increasing. He used to make a cable for his anchor of strips of hickory bark tied together. dreaming awake. to float there for a generation. He came here a-fishing. they made a sudden splash and rippling with their tails. I was pleased to hear of the old log canoe. the Moore of Moore Hill. I remember that when I first looked into these depths there were many large trunks to be seen indistinctly lying on the bottom. with occasional vistas through which you see the water. are gone. and thinking it was going to rain hard immediately. and the dark surrounding woods. told him once that there was an iron chest at the bottom. . that Trojan horse. until I was aroused by the boat touching the sand. or left on the ice at the last cutting. who lived by the pond before the Revolution. Many a forenoon have I stolen away. to the village in a pipe. preferring to spend thus the most valued part of the day. it belonged to the pond. and I arose to see what shore my fates had impelled me to. days when idleness was the most attractive and productive industry. it was completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods. Even as late as the fifth of December. at once above the surface.to earn their Walden by the turning of a cock or drawing of a plug! That devilish Iron Horse. as it were. and now for many a year there will be no more rambling through the aisles of the wood. if not in money. and lying on my back across the seats. and that he had seen it. of all the characters I have known. and was cut off square at the ends. but now they have mostly disappeared. I have spent many an hour. and I anticipated a thorough soaking. who scarcely know where it lies. to wash their dishes with! -. or a few rain-drops fell there. and spent them lavishly. are thinking to bring its water. It was made of two white pine logs dug out and pinned together. whose ear-rending neigh is heard throughout the town. At length the wind rose. But suddenly the dimples ceased. and then. a potter. and in some of its coves grape-vines had run over the trees next the water and formed bowers under which a boat could pass. when I was younger. and the waves began to run. with a thousand men in his belly. half out of water. and he it is that has browsed off all the woods on Walden shore. and the perch leaped much higher than before. when it was dark with surrounding forests. and the old log canoe. for I was rich. having paddled my boat to the middle. in a summer forenoon. to meet him at the Deep Cut and thrust an avenging lance between the ribs of the bloated pest? Nevertheless. When I first paddled a boat on Walden. three inches long. instead of going to the pond to bathe or drink. the mist increased. fell into the water. which should be as sacred as the Ganges at least. has muddied the Boiling Spring with his foot. when wood was cheaper. which the noise of my oars had seared into the depths. introduced by mercenary Greeks! Where is the country's champion. floating over its surface as the zephyr willed. and instantly took refuge in the depths. it had the appearance of an amphitheatre for some land of sylvan spectacle. and the woods on them were then so high. but when you went toward it. though I felt none on my cheek. which had either been blown over formerly. a hundred black points. perhaps Walden wears best. the air being fun of mist. I made haste to take my place at the oars and row homeward.

Though seen but once. Walden. It has not acquired one permanent wrinkle after all its ripples. I cannot come nearer to God and Heaven Than I live to Walden even. that he has beheld this vision of serenity and purity once at least during the day. are better men for the sight. and those passengers who have a season ticket and see it often. is it you? It is no dream of mine. it is the same liquid joy and happiness to itself and its Maker. and by a little digging. The engineer does not forget at night. I went a-chestnutting there in the fall. and it may be to me. but it is on the one hand distantly and indirectly related to Flint's Pond. or Sandy Pond. deepened and clarified it in his thought. The cars never pause to look at it. And its deepest resort Lies high in my thought. In the hollow of my hand Are its water and its sand. here is Walden. the same woodland lake that I discovered so many years ago. and I may stand and see a swallow dip apparently to pick an insect from its surface as of yore. To ornament a line. who would not regret that the comparatively impure waters of Flint's Pond should be mingled with it. and see the waves run. It is the work of a brave man surely. if only to feel the wind blow on your cheek freely. by a chain of small ponds coming from that quarter. which God forbid. It is much larger. If by living thus reserved and austere. our greatest lake and inland sea. it is itself unchanged. the same water which my youthful eyes fell on. in whom there was no guile! He rounded this water with his hand. where a forest was cut down last winter another is springing up by its shore as lustily as ever. It was worth the while. so long. as if I had not seen it almost daily for more than twenty years -. in Lincoln. and remember the life of mariners. yet I fancy that the engineers and firemen and brakemen. it has acquired such wonderful purity. but it is comparatively shallow. which is more elevated. on windy days. by a similar chain of ponds through which in some other geological period it may have flowed. and on the other directly and manifestly to Concord River. and the railroad has infringed on its border. It is perennially young. lies about a mile east of Walden. or his nature does not. and the ice-men have skimmed it once. I see by its face that it is visited by the same reflection. which is lower. It struck me again tonight. I am its stony shore. like a hermit in the woods. and I can almost say.Why. And the breeze that passes o'er. it can be made to flow thither again. A walk through the woods thither was often my recreation. the same thought is welling up to its surface that was then. or itself should ever go to waste its sweetness in the ocean wave? Flint's. One proposes that it be called "God's Drop. it helps to wash out State Street and the engine's soot." I have said that Walden has no visible inlet nor outlet. and is more fertile in fish. and the Irish have built their sties by it.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 80 Many men have been likened to it. and not remarkably pure. ay. all the change is in me. being said to contain one hundred and ninety-seven acres. but few deserve that honor. and in his will bequeathed it to Concord. Though the woodchoppers have laid bare first this shore and then that. when the nuts were .

I used to admire the ripple marks on the sandy bottom. Since the wood-cutters. Moreover. and had as good a moral. oxen. like a pebble. -. whether derived from the remarkable purity of its waters or the color of its sands. and it was no privilege to him to behold it. is White Pond. of small extent. whose meadows no flowers. the fresh spray blowing in my face. and are sometimes cast on the shore. I go not there to see him nor to hear of him. It was as impressive a wreck as one could imagine on the seashore. Fair Haven. all contiguous to one another! Stocked with men! A great grease-spot. It is by this time mere vegetable mould and undistinguishable pond shore. who would carry his God. Let our lakes receive as true names at least as the Icarian Sea. in considerable quantities. -. Farmers are respectable and interesting to me in proportion as they are poor -. the sides gone. whose presence perchance cursed all the shores. let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone. who never spoke a good word for it. and White Pond. perhaps the most attractive. with its veins. in his eyes -. and would fain have exhausted the waters within it. and hardly more than the impression of its flat bottom left amid the rushes. they grind such grist as I carry to them. is a mile southwest. There also I have found. nor thanked God that He had made it. These wash back and forth in shallow water on a sandy bottom. year in year out. no. whose trees no fruits. or some wild man or child the thread of whose history is interwoven with its own. who loves not the beauty of his fruits. are my water privileges. whose fields bear no crops. What right had the unclean and stupid farmer. as I crept along its sedgy shore. yet its model was sharply defined. of about forty acres. who would carry the landscape. A model farm! where the house stands like a fungus in a muckheap. who regarded even the wild ducks which settled in it as trespassers.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 81 dropping into the water and were washed to my feet. who exhausted the land around it. No. chambers for men horses. rank behind rank.poor farmers. who never saw it. in which he could see his own brazen face. It did not turn his mill. whose shores he has ruthlessly laid bare.a poor name from its commonness. and I myself have profaned Walden. at the north end of this pond. to market. but dollars. cleansed and uncleansed. and swine. the wild flowers which grow by its shores. with Concord River. not from him who could show no title to it but the deed which a like-minded neighbor or legislature gave him -. who loved better the reflecting surface of a dollar. curious balls. At first you would say that they were formed by the action of the waves. I suspect. made firm and hard to the feet of the wader by the pressure of the water. They are either solid grass. and they are produced only at one season of the year. is a mile and a half beyond Fair Haven.and would have drained and sold it for the mud at its bottom. if the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after men. as if it were a large decayed pad. through which rushes and flags have pushed up. said to contain some seventy acres. who goes to market for his god as it is. who never bathed in it. They preserve their form when dry for an indefinite period. on whose farm nothing grows free. do not so much construct as wear down a material which has already acquired consistency. redolent of manures and buttermilk! Under a high state of cultivation. his farm where everything has its price. These. I came upon the mouldering wreck of a boat. of pipewort perhaps. as if the waves had planted them. half an inch long. Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth." Goose Pond. or have a little sand in the middle. and night and day. and one day. if he could get anything for him. and perfectly spherical. or a bright cent. the wild fowl or quadrupeds which frequent it. corresponding to these marks.him who thought only of its money value. composed apparently of fine grass or roots. and the rushes which grew in Indian file. being manured with the hearts and brains of men! As if you were to raise your potatoes in the churchyard! Such is a model farm. who never loved it. In these as in . whose fruits are not ripe for him till they are turned to dollars. an expansion of Concord River. from half an inch to four inches in diameter. is on my way to Flint's. if not the most beautiful. in waving lines. whose farm abutted on this sky water. to give his name to it? Some skin-flint. forsooth.there was nothing to redeem it. the waves. yet the smallest are made of equally coarse materials. where "still the shore" a "brave attempt resounds. who regretted only that it was not English hay or cranberry meadow -. Flint's Pond! Such is the poverty of our nomenclature. the gem of the woods. and the railroad. This is my lake country. of all our lakes.so it is not named for me. who never protected it. I respect not his labors. his fingers grown into crooked and bony talons from the long habit of grasping harpy-like. Rather let it be named from the fishes that swim in it.

spiring higher and higher. after speaking of Walden and White Ponds. covered with hoary blue berries. so soft and green and shady that the Druids would have forsaken their oaks to worship in them. although the roots are fifty feet below the surface of the water. It was in the winter. are they! We never learned meanness of them. its waters are of a misty bluish-green or glaucous color. It was about a foot in diameter at the big end. and after the top had become water-logged. had drifted out and sunk wrong end up. with the aid of his neighbors. owing to the undulation of the surface. and he had expected to get a good saw-log. perchance. He sawed a channel in the ice toward the shore. how much more transparent than our characters. looking down through the woods on some of its bays which are not so deep but that the reflection from the bottom tinges them. where the trees. but being liquid. the author. and ample. who told me that it was he who got out this tree ten or fifteen years before. About fifteen years ago you could see the top of a pitch pine. but what youth or maiden conspires with the wild luxuriant beauty of Nature? She flourishes most alone. are fit to stand before Valhalla. Nature has no human inhabitant who appreciates her. Many years since I used to go there to collect the sand by cartloads." In the spring of '49 I talked with the man who lives nearest the pond in Sudbury. the top of this tree is broken off. His father. Lakes of Light. and hauled it over and along and out on to the ice with oxen. we disregard them." by one of its citizens. and this was one of the primitive forest that formerly stood there. If they were permanently congealed. with wavy boughs. Instead of the white lily. and the small end firmly fastened in the sandy bottom. where. with the stumps of the branches pointing down. it stood twelve or fifteen rods from the shore. and the creeping juniper covers the ground with . they would. The birds with their plumage and their notes are in harmony with the flowers. adds. in sultry dog-day weather. where it is visited by hummingbirds in June. and had resolved that in the afternoon. where the water was thirty or forty feet deep. Perhaps it might be called Yellow Pine Lake. it is a lesser twin of Walden.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 82 other respects. and he had been getting out ice in the forenoon. and secured to us and our successors forever. and the color both of its bluish blades and its flowers and especially their reflections. and its waters are of the same hue. for there is little in it to tempt a fisherman. He thought that it might have been a dead tree on the shore. White Pond and Walden are great crystals on the surface of the earth. a tree which appears as if it grew in the place where it now stands. but it was so rotten as to be fit only for fuel. As at Walden. They are so much alike that you would say they must be connected under ground. far from the towns where they reside. and small enough to be clutched. It has the same stony shore. How much more beautiful than our lives. be carried off by slaves. or to the cedar wood beyond Flint's Pond. or like fleets at sea. in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. however. standing like temples. he would take out the old yellow pine. How much fairer than the pool before the farmers door. As near as he could remember. There were marks of an axe and of woodpeckers on the butt. when the water is very low. they contain no muck. and I have continued to visit it ever since. and run after the diamond of Kohinoor. and at that place measures fourteen inches in diameter. he was surprised to find that it was wrong end upward. I find that even so long ago as 1792. while the butt-end was still dry and light. Baker Farm Sometimes I rambled to pine groves. if for that. they look like huge water snakes in motion. in a "Topographical Description of the Town of Concord. in which his ducks swim! Hither the clean wild ducks come. many rods from the shore. "In the middle of the latter may be seen. from the following circumstance. rising from the stony bottom all around the shore. It was even supposed by some that the pond had sunk. and rippling with light. to adorn the heads of emperors. but was finally blown over into the pond. This pond has rarely been profaned by a boat. full-rigged. could not remember when it was not there. to make sandpaper with. of the kind called yellow pine hereabouts. projecting above the surface in deep water. or the common sweet flag. Talk of heaven! ye disgrace earth. like precious stones. which requires mud. the blue flag (Iris versicolor) grows thinly in the pure water. They are too pure to have a market value. eighty years old. He had some of it in his shed then. before he had gone far in his work. but. Several pretty large logs may still be seen lying on the bottom. is in singular harmony with the glaucous water. One who frequents it proposes to call it Virid Lake. though it is not a distinct species.

-"Thy entry is a pleasant field. some taller mast of a pine. the bass. By gliding musquash undertook. for a short while. where the swamp-pink and dogwood grow. standing like a pagoda in the midst of the woods. Benvenuto Cellini tells us in his memoirs. and. Instead of calling on some scholar. As I walked on the railroad causeway. the hornbeam. its cousin." I thought of living there before I went to Walden. and he is dazzled and tempted by nameless other wild forbidden fruits. a large portion of our natural life. such as the black birch. which compelled me to stand half an hour under a pine. My way led through Pleasant Meadow. By the way there came up a shower. perfect in all its details. like butterflies or shells. the Celtis occidentalis. or a more perfect hemlock than usual. of which we have some handsome specimens two feet in diameter. it is not commonly noticed. too fair for mortal taste. of which. or on a hilltop. round tables of the swamp gods. though it was already half spent when I started. but also at other times. Beside. through the woods. it is worth the while to see the silver grain sparkle when you split this wood. and scared the musquash and the trout. in which. and the wild holly berries make the beholder forget his home with their beauty. or in the depths of a wood or swamp. leaped the brook. Angelo a resplendent light appeared over the shadow of his head at morning and evening. whether he was in Italy or France. and toadstools. which has so neat a bole and beautifully lichen-painted. Which some mossy fruit trees yield Partly to a ruddy brook. the yellow birch. It was one of those afternoons which seem indefinitely long before one. a shingle tree. I paid many a visit to particular trees. or to swamps where the usnea lichen hangs in festoons from the white spruce trees. or false elm. One who visited me declared that the shadows of some Irishmen before him had no halo about them. piling boughs . which is especially observed in the morning. supposed by some to have been planted by the pigeons that were once baited with beechnuts near by. And mercurial trout. and even by moonlight. This was probably the same phenomenon to which I have referred. the red alderberry glows like eyes of imps. But are they not indeed distinguished who are conscious that they are regarded at all? I set out one afternoon to go a-fishing to Fair Haven. that. the waxwork grooves and crushes the hardest woods in its folds. and many others I could mention. and dazzling me as if I looked through colored crystal. It was a lake of rainbow light. perfumed like the first. that retreat of which a poet has since sung. after a certain terrible dream or vision which he had during his confinement in the castle of St. Once it chanced that I stood in the very abutment of a rainbow's arch. If it had lasted longer it might have tinged my employments and life. in the case of an excitable imagination like Cellini's. to eke out my scanty fare of vegetables. I know but one small grove of sizable trees left in the township. the beech. tinging the grass and leaves around. and would fain fancy myself one of the elect. he tells us that he showed it to very few. I "hooked" the apples. and it was particularly conspicuous when the grass was moist with dew. it would be basis enough for superstition. Darting about. I used to wonder at the halo of light around my shadow. in which many events may happen. which filled the lower stratum of the atmosphere. excepting scattered specimens. that it was only natives that were so distinguished. of which we have but one well-grown. of kinds which are rare in this neighborhood. vegetable winkles.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 83 wreaths full of fruit. Though a constant one. with its loose golden vest. beginning. These were the shrines I visited both summer and winter. cover the ground. an adjunct of the Baker Farm. standing far away in the middle of some pasture. I lived like a dolphin. and more beautiful fungi adorn the stumps.

how hard he worked "bogging" for a neighboring farmer. But the only true America is that country where you are at liberty to pursue such a mode of life as may enable you to do without these. and had long been uninhabited:-"And here a poet builded. but I wore light shoes and thin clothing. he had to work hard to pay for them. or earn enough money to support me a week. cone-headed infant that sat upon its father's knee as in the palaces of nobles. which had also taken shelter here from the rain. though he might think that I was dressed like a gentleman (which. hard-working. but so much the nearer to the pond. There we sat together under that part of the roof which leaked the least. which yet were soon soiled and worn out. and beef. and where the state does not endeavor to compel you to sustain the slavery and war and other superfluous expenses which directly or indirectly result from the use of such things. with round greasy face and bare breast. instead of John Field's poor starveling brat. that I did not use tea. that here you could get tea. and milk. and wearing my handkerchief for a shed. to roast well.and so it was as broad as it was long. standing up to my middle in water. which hardly cost more than the annual rent of such a ruin as his commonly amounts to. nor fresh meat. which stood half a mile from any road. and several children. and coffee. and it cost me but a trifle for my food. that I lived in a tight. with the never absent mop in one hand. from the broad-faced boy who assisted his father at his work. indeed it was broader than it was long. I should be glad if all the meadows on the earth were left in a wild state. turning up a meadow with a spade or bog hoe at the rate of ten dollars an acre and the use of the land with manure for one year. and that I too. I tried to help him with my experience. and clean house. and coffee. and meat every day. without labor. and in an hour or two. if I wished. and his wife. methought. and his wife. was getting my living like himself. and the hope and cynosure of the world. thought I. dwelt now John Field. nor coffee. stalked about the room like members of the family. I had sat there many times of old before the ship was built that floated his family to America. with such forked flashes to rout a poor unarmed fisherman. and the thunder began to rumble with such emphasis that I could do no more than listen to it. But alas! the culture of an Irishman is an enterprise to be undertaken with a sort of moral bog hoe. and looked out from its home in the midst of wet and hunger inquisitively upon the stranger. to the wrinkled.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 84 over my head. he required thick boots and stout clothing. too humanized. and how. was not the case). while it showered and thundered without." So the Muse fables. who came a-fishing here. nor butter. which cost not half so much. not knowing but it was the last of a noble line. So I made haste for shelter to the nearest hut. If he and his family would live . I told him. an Irishman. and his little broad-faced son worked cheerfully at his father's side the while. I could. again. or desired to be one. if that were the consequence of men's beginning to redeem themselves. and yet he had rated it as a gain in coming to America. I did not have to eat hard. The chickens. I found myself suddenly in the shadow of a cloud. that as he worked so hard at bogging. A man will not need to study history to find out what is best for his own culture. In the completed years. and so did not have to work to get them. and when at length I had made one cast over the pickerelweed. catch as many fish as I should want for two days. For I purposely talked to him as if he were a philosopher. as I did not work hard. for he was discontented and wasted his life into the bargain. if he chose. For behold a trivial cabin That to destruction steers. The gods must be proud. and yet no effects of it visible anywhere. nor milk. but as a recreation. Meanwhile my host told me his story. They stood and looked in my eye or pecked at my shoe significantly. and now came running by his side from the bog to escape the rain. But therein. not knowing how poor a bargain the latter had made. still thinking to improve her condition one day. and butter. but shiftless man plainly was John Field. he might in a month or two build himself a palace of his own. and looked like a loafer. as I found. however. she too was brave to cook so many successive dinners in the recesses of that lofty stove. telling him that he was one of my nearest neighbors. with the privilege of infancy. An honest. but as he began with tea. light. sibyl-like. and when he had worked hard he had to eat hard again to repair the waste of his system -.

As I was leaving the Irishman's roof after the rain. and bucket irrecoverable. -. wading in retired meadows. Let not to get a living be thy trade. and excluding the motes by a skilfully directed undercurrent. "Oh yes. so I took my departure. therefore I suppose they still take life bravely. and they saw not clearly how to make their port so. which will never become English bay. Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. they might all go a-huckleberrying in the summer for their amusement. but there. after their fashion. as one should handle a thistle.. The shower was now over.not yet suffered to cool. I catch a mess now and then when I am lying by. Enjoy the land. water was seemingly distilled. alas! are shallows and quicksands. no worthier games than may here be played. John heaved a sigh at this. When I had got without I asked for a drink. Let the thunder rumble. in sloughs and bog-holes. alas! without arithmetic. . in forlorn and savage places. my haste to catch pickerel." . but as I ran down the hill toward the reddening west. face to face. John. my Good Genius seemed to say -. while they flee to carts and sheds. appeared for an instant trivial to me who had been sent to school and college. bending my steps again to the pond. with the rainbow over my shoulder." "You'd better go now. Grow wild according to thy nature. and both appeared to be wondering if they had capital enough to begin such a course with. hoping to get a sight of the well bottom.farther and wider -. with glistening and hopeful face." . not yet to settle. As tame at the first sight as now. Rise free from care before the dawn. John Field. I am not squeamish in such cases when manners are concerned. Take shelter under the cloud.Go fish and hunt far and wide day by day -. and rope broken withal. so. and rout it in detail.living. like these sedges and brakes.and rest thee by many brooks and hearth-sides without misgiving. not having skill to split its massive columns with any fine entering wedge. and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. and seek adventures.. and failing so. shutting my eyes. With questions art never perplexed. and some faint tinkling sounds borne to my ear through the cleansed air. Meanwhile the right culinary vessel was selected. to complete my survey of the premises. But they fight at an overwhelming disadvantage -. and after consultation and long delay passed out to the thirsty one -. Let the noon find thee by other lakes. but thy sport. In thy plain russet gabardine dressed.. and spending their lives like serfs. "No one runs to revel On thy rail-fenced lea. what if it threaten ruin to farmers' crops? That is not its errand to thee. Such gruel sustains life here. and bait the perch with them.. but John demurred. but own it not." said his wife. I thought. -"What's your bait?" "I catch shiners with fishworms. O Baker Farm! "Landscape where the richest element Is a little sunshine innocent. giving it tooth and nail. from I know not what quarter. There are no larger fields than these. It was sailing by dead reckoning to them. buying and selling. and a rainbow above the eastern woods promised a fair evening. or arithmetic enough to carry it through..thinking to deal with it roughly. Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are. good perch I catch.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 85 simply.. I drank to genuine hospitality the heartiest draught I could. and his wife stared with arms a-kimbo. "Do you ever fish?" I asked. "Debate with no man hast thou." .

Higher Laws As I came home through the woods with my string of fish. They mistake who assert that the Yankee has few amusements. Almost every New England boy among my contemporaries shouldered a fowling-piece between the ages of ten and fourteen. With his horizon all his own. and at the Falls of St. spiritual life. and discoveries every day. He who is only a traveller learns things at second-hand and by the halves. when quite young. with his inherited Irish poverty or poor life. and felt a strange thrill of savage delight. with altered mind. She is not afraid to exhibit herself to them. who approach her with expectation. we should have little acquaintance. his Adam's grandmother and boggy ways.to catch perch with shiners. while I lived at the pond. morning and evening. it being now quite dark. Once or twice. unless he will improve by it -. We are most interested when science reports what those men already know practically or instinctively. and the like have not yet given place to the former. I found in myself. their shadows. born to be poor.thinking to live by some derivative old-country mode in this primitive new country -. And hang conspiracies From the tough rafters of the trees!" Men come tamely home at night only from the next field or street. and he said it was his luck. yet he a poor man. letting go "bogging" ere this sunset. as do most men. I caught a glimpse of a woodchuck stealing across my path. and . and still find. and their life pines because it breathes its own breath over again. And Guy Faux of the state. and no morsel could have been too savage for me. poor man. fishing. as it is named. for here the more primitive but solitary amusements of hunting. not that I was hungry then. I found myself ranging the woods. or account of human experience. but when we changed seats in the boat luck changed seats too. at that age. reach farther than their daily steps. Perhaps I have owed to this employment and to hunting. like a half-starved hound. And ye who hate. 86 Before I had reached the pond some fresh impulse had brought out John Field. I allow. They early introduce us to and detain us in scenery with which otherwise. Fishermen. I like sometimes to take rank hold on life and spend my day more as the animals do. and another toward a primitive rank and savage one. and men and boys do not play so many games as they do in England. and others. We should come home from far. are often in a more favorable mood for observing her. The wildness and adventure that are in fishing still recommended it to me. Children of the Holy Dove. where their household echoes haunt. not to rise in this world. an instinct toward a higher. and I reverence them both. Mary a fisherman. except for that wildness which he represented. however. till their wading webbed bog-trotting feet get talaria to their heels. I love the wild not less than the good. spending their lives in the fields and woods. he nor his posterity. seeking some kind of venison which I might devour. But he. in a peculiar sense a part of Nature themselves. and perils. and is poor authority. in the intervals of their pursuits. than philosophers or poets even. from adventures. Poor John Field! -I trust he does not read this. disturbed only a couple of fins while I was catching a fair string. my closest acquaintance with Nature. with a strange abandonment. on the head waters of the Missouri and Columbia a trapper.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor "Come ye who love. because he has not so many public holidays. hunters. or. with new experience and character. trailing my pole. and was strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw. woodchoppers. The wildest scenes had become unaccountably familiar. It is good bait sometimes. The traveller on the prairie is naturally a hunter. for that alone is a true humanity.

In some countries a hunting parson is no uncommon sight. Yet notwithstanding the objection on the score of humanity. owing. he distinguishes his proper objects. whether they should let them hunt. Thus. who "yave not of the text a pulled hen That saith that hunters ben not holy men. If the legislature regards it.make them hunters. but to an increased scarcity of game. I have skill at it. that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect. was fishing. during the last years that I carried a gun my excuse was that I was studying ornithology. unless they got a long string of fish. for perhaps the hunter is the greatest friend of the animals hunted. but I did not perceive that my feelings were much affected. impaling the legislature for a bait. but now they are too old and dignified to go a-fishing. The hare in its extremity cries like a child. but they know nothing about the hook of hooks with which to angle for the pond itself. then. I have tried it again and again. I have been willing to omit the gun. The Governor and his Council faintly remember the pond. This was habit. of late years. or well paid for their time. not to an increased humanity. and. it is chiefly to regulate the number of hooks to be used there. but no doubt such a clarifying process would be going on all the while. that he did not oftener stay to play on the common.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 87 his hunting and fishing grounds were not limited. They might go there a thousand times before the sediment of fishing would sink to the bottom and leave their purpose pure. and concerned my philosophy more than my feelings. As for fowling. with just one exception. and so they know it no more forever. We cannot but pity the boy who has never fired a gun. or the like business. This was my answer with respect to those youths who were bent on this pursuit. like the preserves of an English nobleman. if for that reason only. so that they shall not find game large enough for them in this or any vegetable wilderness -. Whatever humanity I might conjure up against it was all factitious. but were more boundless even than those of a savage. when at the pond. I have been surprised to consider that the only obvious employment. which revives from . and sold my gun before I went to the woods. when the hunters are the "best men. Moreover. I have answered. I am compelled to doubt if equally valuable sports are ever substituted for these. Such a one might make a good shepherd's dog. a certain instinct for it. like many of my fellows. and leaves the gun and fish-pole behind. The mass of men are still and always young in this respect. Such is oftenest the young man's introduction to the forest. and when some of my friends have asked me anxiously about their boys. I warn you. ice-cutting. as a poet or naturalist it may be. and the most original part of himself. if possible. even in civilized communities. No wonder. though sportsmen only at first.hunters as well as fishers of men." There is a period in the history of the individual. until at last. Not that I am less humane than others. though they had the opportunity of seeing the pond all the while. that. mothers. I wished sometimes to add fish to my fare for variety. Thus far I am of the opinion of Chaucer's nun. I have actually fished from the same kind of necessity that the first fishers did. He goes thither at first as a hunter and fisher. which ever to my knowledge detained at Walden Pond for a whole half-day any of my fellow-citizens. It requires so much closer attention to the habits of the birds. and sought only new or rare birds. not excepting the Humane Society. yes -. while his education has been sadly neglected. if he has the seeds of a better life in him. Yet even they expect to go to heaven at last. as of the race. past the thoughtless age of boyhood. Commonly they did not think that they were lucky. he is no more humane. except wood-chopping. whether fathers or children of the town. trusting that they would soon outgrow it. I have found repeatedly.remembering that it was one of the best parts of my education -. the embryo man passes through the hunter stage of development. But already a change is taking place. I speak of fishing only now. but is far from being the Good Shepherd." as the Algonquins called them. that my sympathies do not always make the usual philanthropic distinctions. mighty hunters at last. for I had long felt differently about fowling. for they went a-fishing there when they were boys. will wantonly murder any creature which holds its life by the same tenure that he does. No humane being. But I confess that I am now inclined to think that there is a finer way of studying ornithology than this. I did not pity the fishes nor the worms.

and the gluttonous maggot when become a fly" content themselves with a drop or two of honey or some other sweet liquid. whether of animal or vegetable food.. as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized. to leave off eating animals.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 88 time to time. The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience. The voracious caterpillar when transformed into a butterfly . are not true men and women. and there are whole nations in that condition. The abdomen under the wings of the butterfly still represents the larva.. or tea. which costs so much.. or coffee. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects. by preying on other animals. in its gradual improvement. I think that I do not mistake. I am satisfied that it is not. I think. The faintest assured objection which one healthy man feels will at length prevail over the arguments and customs of mankind.as any one who will go to snaring rabbits. There is unquestionably this instinct in me which belongs to the lower orders of creation. nations without fancy or imagination. but is an instinct. but this is a miserable way -. he can and does live. though furnished with organs of feeding. and though I never did so. as he grows more resolute and faithful. at present I am no fisherman at all. that almost all insects in this state eat much less than in that of larvae. to wear a tidy and respectable appearance each day. for these were a life in conformity to higher principles. as is every day prepared for them by others. or slaughtering lambs. It is a faint intimation. but always when I have done I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. Though the result were bodily weakness. It is not worth the while to live by rich cookery. if gentlemen and ladies. is to be fed when we feed the body. stated by entomologists -. Yet till this is otherwise we are not civilized. I can speak from an unusually complete experience. is more elastic. Most men would feel shame if caught preparing with their own hands precisely such a dinner. more starry. it may lead him. or even insanity. to keep the house sweet and free from all ill odors and sights. nor interrupt the worthiest pursuits. But I see that if I were to live in a wilderness I should again be tempted to become a fisher and hunter in earnest. It may be vain to ask why the imagination will not be reconciled to flesh and fat. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. It is a significant fact. We easily come to doubt if they exist. and yet that way. not so much because of any ill effects which I had traced to them. and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs. I went far enough to please my imagination.that "some insects in their perfect state. If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius. as because they were not agreeable to my imagination. The fruits eaten temperately need not make us ashamed of our appetites. make no use of them". and whence the endeavor. But put an extra condiment into your dish. It was insignificant and unnecessary. which are certainly true. whose vast abdomens betray them. Yet perhaps this may be done. and from much food of any kind. and I began to see where housework commences. Like many of my contemporaries. If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy. Having been my own butcher and scullion and cook. Is it not a reproach that man is a carnivorous animal? True. We soon forget . Beside. etc. I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food. and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.I find it in Kirby and Spence -. yet with every year I am less a fisherman. when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish. as well as the gentleman for whom the dishes were served up. more immortal -. I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race. his road lies. The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness. yet so are the first streaks of morning. but this. in a great measure. there is something essentially unclean about this diet and all flesh. though without more humanity or even wisdom. It is hard to provide and cook so simple and clean a diet as will not offend the imagination. he sees not to what extremes. Whatever my own practice may be. and besides. and cost more than it came to. and it will poison you.that is your success. they seemed not to have fed me essentially. may learn -. they should both sit down at the same table.and he will be regarded as a benefactor of his race who shall teach man to confine himself to a more innocent and wholesome diet. yet perhaps no one can say that the consequences were to be regretted. and. All nature is your congratulation. No man ever followed his genius till it misled him. I had rarely for many years used animal food. and they lay it down as "a general rule. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well. with less trouble and filth. The gross feeder is a man in the larva state. This is the tidbit which tempts his insectivorous fate. This certainly suggests what change is to be made.

"one looks. He goes to the mill-pond. I was never unusually squeamish. that I have been inspired through the palate. but the appetite with which it is eaten. but the devotion to sensual savors. because. I find myself at present somewhat less particular in these respects. and perhaps cannot be wholly expelled." that is. one eats. but never change its nature. a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. recommending its laws. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. is not bound to inquire what is his food. and he is unfortunate who does not hear it. can live this slimy. is heard as music. Though the youth at last grows indifferent. not because I am wiser than I was. and one does not know the savor of food. A puritan may go to his brown-bread crust with as gross an appetite as ever an alderman to his turtle. sweet satire on the meanness of our lives. but are forever on the side of the most sensitive. But to tell the truth." says Mencius. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice. she to her preserve-pot. occupy our bodies. and one does not see. superior men . If the hunter has a taste for mud-turtles. with white and sound teeth and tusks. I am glad to have drunk water so long. however much it is to be regretted. for the same reason that I prefer the natural sky to an opium-eater's heaven. and they are even. We are conscious of an animal in us. muskrats. "That in which men differ from brute beasts. ask no blessing. how you and I. My practice is "nowhere. This creature succeeded by other means than temperance and purity. Not that food which entereth into the mouth defileth a man. a proud. I am obliged to confess. It is reptile and sensual. and other such savage tidbits. that the Vedant limits this privilege to "the time of distress. and one does not hear. with years I have grown more coarse and indifferent. I would fain keep sober always. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome. The wonder is how they. The other day I picked up the lower jaw of a hog. which awakens in proportion as our higher nature slumbers. Yet. I fear that it may enjoy a certain health of its own. "is a thing very inconsiderable. that "he who has true faith in the Omnipresent Supreme Being may eat all that exists. beastly life. and our little goodness is all the assessment that we pay. the laws of the universe are not indifferent. go a long way off. as most believe of poetry. the common herd lose it very soon. who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes? I have found it to be the most serious objection to coarse labors long continued. Nevertheless I am far from regarding myself as one of those privileged ones to whom the Ved refers when it says. Perhaps these questions are entertained only in youth. that we may be well. I could sometimes eat a fried rat with a good relish. like the worms which. or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah. as a Hindoo commentator has remarked." says Thseng-tseu. for it is surely there. one listens. We cannot touch a string or move a stop but the charming moral transfixes us. he who does not cannot be otherwise. "The soul not being mistress of herself." Who has not sometimes derived an inexpressible satisfaction from his food in which appetite had no share? I have been thrilled to think that I owed a mental perception to the commonly gross sense of taste. even in life and health. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. that some berries which I had eaten on a hillside had fed my genius. for my part. They are the highest reality. Our whole life is startlingly moral. eating and drinking. and even in their case it is to be observed. I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. It is neither the quality nor the quantity.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 89 them. and there are infinite degrees of drunkenness. Of all ebriosity. In the music of the harp which trembles round the world it is the insisting on this which thrills us. but food for the worms that possess us. wine is not so noble a liquor. It is a little star-dust caught. Possibly we may withdraw from it. but. Goodness is the only investment that never fails. when that which is eaten is not a viand to sustain our animal. if it were necessary." my opinion is here. how low I fall when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. or inspire our spiritual life. the fine lady indulges a taste for jelly made of a calf's foot. or who prepares it. I carry less religion to the table. and think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee." He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton. The harp is the travelling patterer for the Universe's Insurance Company. Listen to every zephyr for some reproof. which suggested that there was an animal health and vigor distinct from the spiritual. Many an irksome noise. yet not pure. and will destroy England and America. or for sardines from over the sea. that they compelled me to eat and drink coarsely also.

and what are called Genius. and all the sins. but we know not what it is. in some countries. What avails it that you are Christian. and the like. but it is not because of the subject -. are declared by the Ved to be indispensable in the mind's approximation to God. Nothing was too trivial for the Hindoo lawgiver. wolf. when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. and that. "A command over our passions. Heroism. and we only need to see a person do any one of these things to know how great a sensualist he is. elevating what is mean. and good acts. In the student sensuality is a sluggish habit of mind. if you are not more religious? I know of many systems of religion esteemed heathenish whose precepts fill the reader with shame. dissipates and makes us unclean. They are but one appetite. the divine allied to beasts. if you are not purer than the heathen. he shows himself at another. which. I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs.. and transmute what in form is the grossest sensuality into purity and devotion. and are silent about another. whom the sun shines on prostrate. and does not falsely excuse himself by calling these things trifles. We have heard of this virtue." Yet the spirit can for the time pervade and control every member and function of the body.but because I cannot speak of them without betraying my impurity." All sensuality is one. all purity is one. It is the same whether a man eat. however offensive it may be to modern taste. and the divine being established. If you would avoid uncleanness. When the reptile is attacked at one mouth of his burrow. Holiness. goat. are but various fruits which succeed it.. and over the external senses of the body. In earlier ages. to some extent. and ev'ry beast." Who knows what sort of life would result if we had attained to purity? If I knew so wise a man as could teach me purity I would go to seek him forthwith. one who sits by a stove. drink.. the creatures of appetite. Nature is hard to be overcome. The impure can neither stand nor sit with purity. you must be temperate. Man flows at once to God when the channel of purity is open. who reposes without being fatigued. cohabit. every function was reverently spoken of and regulated by law. The generative energy. void excrement and urine. our very life is our disgrace. and made them worse. Perhaps there is none but has cause for shame on account of the inferior and brutish nature to which he is allied. but she must be overcome. when we are loose. If you would be chaste.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 90 preserve it carefully. though it be to the performance of rites merely. or sleep sensually. if you deny yourself no more. or cohabit. though it be at cleaning a stable. What is chastity? How shall a man know if he is chaste? He shall not know it. He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him day by day. or drink. I hesitate to say these things. From exertion come wisdom and purity. We are so degraded that we cannot speak simply of the necessary functions of human nature. though it takes many forms. But he's those devils too which did incline Them to a headlong rage.-"How happy's he who hath due place assigned To his beasts and disafforested his mind! . Can use this horse. We speak conformably to the rumor which we have heard. He teaches how to eat. By turns our purity inspires and our impurity casts us down. Chastity is the flowering of man.I care not how obscene my words are -. and provoke him to new endeavors.. And is not ass himself to all the rest! Else man not only is the herd of swine... We discourse freely without shame of one form of sensuality. from sloth ignorance and sensuality. An unclean person is universally a slothful one. . work earnestly. and the like.

who came through the village to my house from the other side of the town. Poet.no flutter from them.But how to come out of this condition and actually migrate thither? All that he could think of was to practise some new austerity. then. after a style purely his own. It was no more than the scurf of his skin. and some of his neighbors were apprehending a frost. for a while. Brute Neighbors Sometimes I had a companion in my fishing. some hollow tree. is it you? How do you like the world to-day? Poet. where you see the johnswort waving. which was constantly shuffled off. when one's appetite is not too keen. let's along. as I have my living to get. and then for morning calls and dinner-parties! Only a woodpecker tapping. Was that a farmer's noon horn which sounded from beyond the woods just now? The hands are coming in to boiled salt beef and cider and Indian bread. Come. But that we may not be delayed. if you choose to go farther. -. after a hard day's work. Why will men worry themselves so? He that does not eat need not work. as if you were weeding. -. whose tracks I saw after the rain? It comes on apace. Still he thought of his work. and he found himself planning and contriving it against his will. how they hang! That's the greatest thing I have seen to-day. Is it some ill-fed village hound yielding to the instinct of the chase? or the lost pig which is said to be in these woods. for I have found the increase of fair bait to be very nearly as the squares of the distances. I cannot resist. my sumachs and sweetbriers tremble.unless when we were off the coast of Spain. he sat down to re-create his intellectual man. the sun is too warm there. That's the true industry for poets. There's nothing like it in old paintings. I will go with you gladly soon. and this you may have all to yourself today. when a glorious existence is possible for you? Those same stars twinkle over other fields than these. but the burden of his thought was. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man's features. and the catching of the dinner was as much a social exercise as the eating of it. My brown bread will soon be gone. to the god he worships. the race is nearly extinct. and scour his tubs this bright day! Better not keep a house. Say. and that sound harmonized with his mood. Angleworms are rarely to be met with in these parts. -.Hark! I hear a rustling of the leaves. it will not be unwise. nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. Mr. I wonder what the world is doing now. Oh. and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them. Hermit. that though this kept running in his head. I would advise you to set in the spade down yonder among the ground-nuts. Having bathed. See those clouds. John Farmer sat at his door one September evening. I have water from the spring. I think that I am near the end of it. He had not attended to the train of his thoughts long when he heard some one playing on a flute. A voice said to him -. The sport of digging the bait is nearly equal to that of catching the fish. Hermit. Or. but I am just concluding a serious meditation. We are all sculptors and painters. Leave me alone. and the state in which he lived. you shall be digging the bait meanwhile. The pigeons are all asleep upon their roosts -. yet it concerned him very little. they swarm. I think that I may warrant you one worm to every three sods you turn up. the housekeeping! to keep bright the devil's door-knobs. where the soil was never fattened with manure. But the notes of the flute came home to his ears out of a different sphere from that he worked in. and the village. They gently did away with the street.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 91 Every man is the builder of a temple. . called his body. his mind still running on his labor more or less. if you look well in among the roots of the grass. that I might go a-fishing. and a loaf of brown bread on the shelf. Who would live there where a body can never think for the barking of Bose? And oh. It is the only trade I have learned. nothing like it in foreign lands -. That's a true Mediterranean sky. and treat himself with ever increasing respect. I wonder how much they have reaped.Why do you stay here and live this mean moiling life.Eh. and have not eaten to-day. I have not heard so much as a locust over the sweet-fern these three hours. I thought. and suggested work for certain faculties which slumbered in him. they are born too far into life for me. to let his mind descend into his body and redeem it. It was a rather cool evening.

The young squat still and flat. made to carry some portion of our thoughts. it came and nibbled it. If it would do any good. beside several which are imperfect or undersized. and one accidentally fell on its side. We will think of it? My thoughts have left no track. nor will your approach make them run again and betray themselves. that you cannot. A phoebe soon built in my shed. is it wise to say. So perfect is this instinct. it was found with the rest in exactly the same position ten minutes afterward. without suspecting their neighborhood.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 92 Hermit alone. often running their heads under a leaf. The parent will sometimes roll and spin round before you in such a dishabille. Mem. The ignorant or reckless sportsman often shoots the parent at such a time. would another so sweet occasion be likely to offer? I was as near being resolved into the essence of things as ever I was in my life. and dodged and played at bopeep with it. Shall we to the Concord? There's good sport there if the water be not too high. and leaves . detect what kind of creature it is. The remarkably adult yet innocent expression of their open and serene eyes is very memorable. Let me see. and it interested him much. and in all her behavior proving herself the hen of the woods. You may even tread on them. it ran up my clothes. Poet. but is coeval with the sky it reflects. and walked away. and round and round the paper which held my dinner. sitting in my hand. and her anxious calls and mewing. They suggest not merely the purity of infancy. I have held them in my open hand at such a time. have put animals to their best use. or seen her trail her wings to attract his attention. at a signal from the mother. and before I had laid the second floor. and it soon became quite familiar. and along my sleeve. and I cannot find the path again. they may fetch that state about again. and heard the whir of the old bird as she flew off. and a robin for protection in a pine which grew against the house. I know not whether it was the dumps or a budding ecstasy. without discovering them. but they will do for the smaller fry. and still their only care. The woods do not yield another such a gem. Shall I go to heaven or a-fishing? If I should soon bring this meditation to an end. and swept out the shavings. like a fly. I will just try these three sentences of Confutsee. let's be off. but a wisdom clarified by experience. which is so shy a bird. Hermit. and they so exactly resemble the dried leaves and twigs that many a traveler has placed his foot in the midst of a brood. and would run over my shoes and up my clothes. The mice which haunted my house were not the common ones. clucking and calling to them like a hen. obedient to their mother and their instinct. led her brood past my windows. for a few moments. which are said to have been introduced into the country. It could readily ascend the sides of the room by short impulses. In June the partridge (Tetrao umbellus). would come out regularly at lunch time and pick up the crumbs at my feet. as if a whirlwind had swept them away. When I was building. where was I? Methinks I was nearly in this frame of mind. How now. while I kept the latter close. they do not cover up the hook so much. for they are all beasts of burden. Hermit. which it resembled in its motions. from the woods in the rear to the front of my house. I would whistle for them. but a wild native kind not found in the village. The young suddenly disperse on your approach. There never is but one opportunity of a kind. when I had laid them on the leaves again. and mind only their mother's directions given from a distance. All intelligence seems reflected in them. but more perfectly developed and precocious even than chickens. It probably had never seen a man before. Such an eye was not born when the bird was. in a sense. Well. that once. was to squat there without fear or trembling. as if nothing but a mouse could have filled this crevice? I suspect that Pilpay & Co. Those village worms are quite too large. as I leaned with my elbow on the bench one day. is it too soon? I have got just thirteen whole ones. Why do precisely these objects which we behold make a world? Why has man just these species of animals for his neighbors. and afterward cleaned its face and paws. I fear my thoughts will not come back to me. They are not callow like the young of most birds. When they make us an offer. What was it that I was thinking of? It was a very hazy day. a shiner may make a meal off one without finding the skewer. the world lay about at this angle. and when at last I held still a piece of cheese between my thumb and finger. I sent one to a distinguished naturalist. or have your eyes on them for a minute. one of these had its nest underneath the house. At length. like a squirrel. then. The traveller does not often look into such a limpid well.

after planting. I was witness to events of a less peaceful character. whose mother had charged him to return with his shield or upon it. into a larger wood about the swamp. but a bellum. and had now come to avenge or rescue his Patroclus. and get off her young. and ate my lunch. in a little sunny valley amid the chips. or had not yet taken part in the battle. You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns. Commonly I rested an hour or two in the shade at noon. . had already divested him of several of his members. who had nourished his wrath apart. wiry peep. both red and black. flying but a foot above them down the bank. firm sward to sit on. and the black imperialists on the other. the red always pitted against the black. suspected by hunters only. It is remarkable how many creatures live wild and free though secret in the woods. while the stronger black one dashed him from side to side. nearly half an inch long." In the meanwhile there came along a single red ant on the hillside of this valley. I watched a couple that were fast locked in each other's embraces. and so there were three united for life. that it was not a duellum. for they never hear the mother's call which gathers them again. He saw this unequal combat from afar -. It is said that when hatched by a hen they will directly disperse on some alarm. but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. for he had lost none of his limbs. to attract my attention. and read a little by a spring which was the source of a swamp and of a brook. or fluttered from bough to bough of the soft white pines over my head. with faint. Or perchance he was some Achilles. where I could dip up a pailful without roiling it. the other much larger. leaving the foe to select among his own members. Thither. Having once got hold they never let go. the woodcock led her brood. I should not have wondered by this time to find that they had their respective musical bands stationed on some eminent chip. internecine war. while they ran in a troop beneath. or the red squirrel. as she directed. and through all the tumblings on that field never for an instant ceased to gnaw at one of his feelers near the root. There. was particularly familiar and inquisitive. and thither I went for this purpose almost every day in midsummer. and commenced his operations near the root of his right fore leg. How retired the otter manages to live here! He grows to be four feet long. perhaps without any human being getting a glimpse of him. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat. now at noonday prepared to fight till the sun went down. evidently full of excitement. and probably still heard their whinnering at night. spying me. probably the latter.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 93 these innocents to fall a prey to some prowling beast or bird. yet without any noise that I could hear. Or I heard the peep of the young when I could not see the parent bird. nearer and nearer till within four or five feet. Neither manifested the least disposition to retreat. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard. These were my hens and chickens. or gradually mingle with the decaying leaves which they so much resemble. Looking farther. then. when the pond was warmest. and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying. half a mile from my field. under a spreading white pine. and. who would already have taken up their march. and human soldiers never fought so resolutely. The approach to this was through a succession of descending grassy hollows. There too the turtle doves sat over the spring. in a very secluded and shaded spot. and still sustain themselves in the neighborhood of towns. watching his opportunity. or life went out. pretending broken wings and legs. oozing from under Brister's Hill. I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants. the red republicans on the one hand. but at last. or rather my pile of stumps. she would leave her young and circle round and round me. as I saw on looking nearer. The smaller red champion had fastened himself like a vice to his adversary's front. the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging. One day when I went out to my wood-pile.for the blacks were nearly twice the size of the red -he drew near with rapid pace till be stood on his guard within half an inch of the combatants. he sprang upon the black warrior. They fought with more pertinacity than bulldogs. a war between two races of ants. having already caused the other to go by the board. I had dug out the spring and made a well of clear gray water. there was yet a clean. who either had despatched his foe. the one red. It was evident that their battle-cry was "Conquer or die. and so are lost. I formerly saw the raccoon in the woods behind where my house is built. as big as a small boy. as if a new kind of attraction had been invented which put all other locks and cements to shame. single file through the swamp. and black. I observed two large ants. and frequently two red ones to one black. fiercely contending with one another. coursing down the nearest bough. full of young pitch pines. too. to probe the mud for worms.

or for the patriotism and heroism displayed. of a human battle before my door. Holding a microscope to the first-mentioned red ant. and he went off over the window-sill in that crippled state. that will bear a moment's comparison with this. I raised the glass. Kirby and Spence tell us that the battles of ants have long been celebrated and the date of them recorded."Fire! for God's sake fire!" -. Mr. This event happened previous to the expulsion of the tyrant Christiern the Second from Sweden. and Luther Blanchard wounded! Why here every ant was a Buttrick -. his own breast was all torn away. still apparently as firmly fastened as ever. Nevertheless the most domestic cat. if in the history of America. in order to see the issue. five years before the passage of Webster's Fugitive-Slave Bill. when berrying. by her sly and stealthy behavior. the ferocity and carnage. who related the whole.and thousands shared the fate of Davis and Hosmer. but I thought that his industry would not be worth much thereafter. I was myself excited somewhat even as if they had been men. I met with a cat with young kittens in the woods. A few years before I lived in the woods there was what was called a "winged cat" in one of the farm-houses in Lincoln nearest the pond. like their mother. and ineffectually smelled at old fox burrows and woodchucks' holes. history of the battle with the greatest fidelity. had their backs up and were fiercely spitting at me. bending the bushes with his weight. sported his heavy quarters in the woods. and the results of this battle will be as important and memorable to those whom it concerns as those of the battle of Bunker Hill. Once I was surprised to see a cat walking along the stony shore of the pond. but I felt for the rest of that day as if I had had my feelings excited and harrowed by witnessing the struggle. and not to avoid a three-penny tax on their tea. I have no doubt that it was a principle they fought for. quite wild. after half an hour more. and the dark carbuncles of the sufferer's eyes shone with ferocity such as war only could excite. and I know not how many other wounds. at least. as was her wont (I am not sure whether it was a male or . which has lain on a rug all her days. to divest himself of them. and he was endeavoring with feeble struggles. fit only to course a mud-turtle in a victualling cellar. at least. though they say that Huber is the only modern author who appears to have witnessed them. and placed it under a tumbler on my window-sill. Gilian Baker's. When I called to see her in June. though he was assiduously gnawing at the near fore leg of his enemy. without the knowledge of his master. as much as our ancestors.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 94 and playing their national airs the while. are said to have buried the bodies of their own soldiers. in which the small ones. The surprise was mutual. being victorious. an eminent lawyer. she was gone a-hunting in the woods." adds that "this action was fought in the pontificate of Eugenius the Fourth. and the still living heads were hanging on either side of him like ghastly trophies at his saddle-bow. for they rarely wander so far from home." The battle which I witnessed took place in the Presidency of Polk. "after giving a very circumstantial account of one contested with great obstinacy by a great and small species on the trunk of a pear tree. led perchance by some slight cur which nimbly threaded the wood. appears quite at home in the woods. being without feelers and with only the remnant of a leg. For numbers and for carnage it was an Austerlitz or Dresden. Once. whether for the numbers engaged in it. There was not one hireling there. but left those of their giant enemies a prey to the birds. in the presence of Nicholas Pistoriensis. They struggled half an hour longer under the tumbler. "AEneas Sylvius. he accomplished. the less the difference. cantering off. and when I looked again the black soldier had severed the heads of his foes from their bodies. and they all. Whether he finally survived that combat. exposing what vitals he had there to the jaws of the black warrior.now far behind his guide. and might still inspire a natural terror in its denizens. Many a village Bose. and spent the remainder of his days in some Hotel des Invalides. which at length. And certainly there is not the fight recorded in Concord history. barking like a canine bull toward some small squirrel which had treed itself for scrutiny. and. nor the cause of the war. Concord Fight! Two killed on the patriots' side. having severed his remaining feeler. I took up the chip on which the three I have particularly described were struggling. proves herself more native there than the regular inhabitants. The more you think of it. I never learned which party was victorious." say they. I saw that. to excite the slow and cheer the dying combatants. imagining that he is on the track of some stray member of the jerbilla family. carried it into my house. 1842." A similar engagement between great and small ants is recorded by Olaus Magnus. -. I do not know. then. whose breastplate was apparently too thick for him to pierce.

sometimes. after displaying so much cunning. making the woods ring with his wild laughter before I had risen. though his foes sweep the pond with spy-glasses. but I miscalculated the direction he would take. in April. and white feet. I was endeavoring to divine his thought in mine. While he was thinking one thing in his brain. I found that it was as well for me to rest on my oars and wait his reappearing as to endeavor to calculate where he would rise. for I had helped to widen the interval. did he invariably betray himself the moment he came up by that loud laugh? Did not his white breast enough betray him? He was indeed a silly loon. and the problem is to place yours nearest to where his will appear again. and apparently chose his course so that he might come up where there was the widest expanse of water and at the greatest distance from the boat. and under her chin like a muff. At rumor of his arrival all the Mill-dam sportsmen are on the alert. if I had kept any. and with more reason than before. It was surprising how quickly he made up his mind and put his resolve into execution. forming stripes ten or twelve inches long by two and a half wide. rustling the leaves and rippling the surface of the water. according to naturalists. played on the smooth surface of the pond. They come rustling through the woods like autumn leaves. sailing out from the shore toward the middle a few rods in front of me. I would suddenly be startled by his unearthly laugh behind me. and was finally taken into their house. in order to see how he would manoeuvre. so that I did not discover him again. There is no appearance of a membrane about them. but her mistress told me that she came into the neighborhood a little more than a year before. and swam much faster there. just put his head out to reconnoitre. like the milkweed down. Suddenly your adversary's checker disappears beneath the board. having looked in vain over the pond for a loon. and had a large bushy tail like a fox. when he came to the surface. Some thought it was part flying squirrel or some other wild animal. and our sportsmen must beat a retreat to town and shop and unfinished jobs. He dived again. so that no loon can be heard or seen. a man against a loon. The waves generously rise and dash angrily. some on that. It was a pretty game. He led me at once to the widest part of the pond. for the poor bird cannot be omnipresent. and so use the more common pronoun). but when he came up I was nearer than before. and then no wit could divine where in the deep pond. Once or twice I saw a ripple where he approached the surface. the upper side loose. suddenly one. for such days especially they settle on to the lakes. When I went to get a pail of water early in the morning I frequently saw this stately bird sailing out of my cove within a few rods. They gave me a pair of her "wings. he cooly surveyed the water and the land. He manoeuvred so cunningly that I could not get within half a dozen rods of him. As I was paddling along the north shore one very calm October afternoon. and we were fifty rods apart when he came to the surface this time. I could commonly hear the . with patent rifles and conical balls and spy-glasses. He commonly went off in a rain. that when he had swum farthest he would immediately plunge again. the under matted like felt. and in the spring these appendages dropped off. But I was more than a match for him on the surface. It is said that loons have been caught in the New York lakes eighty feet beneath the surface. If I endeavored to overtake him in a boat. with a white spot on her throat. I pursued with a paddle and he dived. and could not be driven from it. prolific hybrids have been produced by the union of the marten and domestic cat. he would dive and be completely lost. at least ten men to one loon. he might be speeding his way like a fish. if he dive here he must come up there. for. beneath the smooth surface. as usual.though Walden is deeper than that. and instantly dived again. So long-winded was he and so unweariable." which I keep still. set up his wild laugh and betrayed himself. that she was of a dark brownish-gray color. having apparently passed directly under the boat. and make the woods resound with their discharges. when I was straining my eyes over the surface one way. taking sides with all water-fowl. to moult and bathe in the pond. two by two and three by three. turning his head this way and that. How surprised must the fishes be to see this ungainly visitor from another sphere speeding his way amid their schools! Yet he appeared to know his course as surely under water as on the surface. till the latter part of the day. Some station themselves on this side of the pond. But why. that in the winter the fur grew thick and flatted out along her sides. for he had time and ability to visit the bottom of the pond in its deepest part. nevertheless. and again he laughed long and loud. with hooks set for trout -. which is not impossible. Each time. But now the kind October wind rises. Sometimes he would come up unexpectedly on the opposite side of me.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 95 female. But they were too often successful. for again and again. for why should not a poet's cat be winged as well as his horse? In the fall the loon (Colymbus glacialis) came. in gigs and on foot. This would have been the right kind of cat for me to keep. I thought.

when he had balked me most successfully and come up a long way off. and I was impressed as if it were the prayer of the loon answered. but what beside safety they got by sailing in the middle of Walden I do not know. which was once the totem of an Indian tribe. but let wild Nature reign here once more.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 96 splash of the water when he came up. or known only by its flowering vine. I relinquished these trees to them and visited the more distant woods composed wholly of chestnut. They grew also behind my house. Cultivation has well-nigh exterminated it. the pond was so smooth that I could see where he broke the surface when I did not hear him. Though the sky was by this time overcast. confident of his own resources. and. but the squirrels and the jays got most of its fruit. and I found it better boiled than roasted. be found. These nuts. Occasionally I climbed and shook the trees. and without the care of man the crow may carry back even . and sells the spoils of the meads to Boston and New York. Digging one day for fishworms. House-Warming In October I went a-graping to the river meadows. as if calling on the god of loons to aid him.with a bag on my shoulder. they would settle down by a slanting flight of a quarter of a mile on to a distant part which was left free. When chestnuts were ripe I laid up half a bushel for winter. and filled the whole air with misty rain. I watched the ducks cunningly tack and veer and hold the middle of the pond. a sort of fabulous fruit. perhaps. which I had begun to doubt if I had ever dug and eaten in childhood. There. destined to be jammed. whose half-consumed nuts I sometimes stole. he uttered one of those prolonged howls. too. he uttered a long-drawn unearthly howl. yet somewhat like that of a water-fowl. but occasionally. the potato of the aborigines. for I did not always wait for the frost. In these days of fatted cattle and waving grain-fields this humble root. was. For hours. when in flower. and immediately there came a wind from the east and rippled the surface. which the proprietor and travellers had overlooked. from which they could easily see to other ponds and the river. and one large tree. making the woods ring far and wide. heedlessly measuring them by the bushel and the dollar only.perhaps the wildest sound that is ever heard here. and so also detected him. The barberry's brilliant fruit was likewise food for my eyes merely. though I did not gather. regardless of the torn and drooping plant. were a good substitute for bread. pearly and red. and loaded myself with clusters more precious for their beauty and fragrance than for food. when I thought they had gone off thither long since. dived as willingly. I had often since seen its crumpled red velvety blossom supported by the stems of other plants without knowing it to be the same. for the burs which they had selected were sure to contain sound ones. unless they love its water for the same reason that I do. which almost overshadowed it. and swam yet farther than at first. the last coming in flocks early in the morning and picking the nuts out of the burs before they fell. a bouquet which scented the whole neighborhood. the cranberries. His white breast. in fall days. I discovered the ground-nut (Apios tuberosa) on its string. Many other substitutes might. and the tender and luxurious English grains will probably disappear before a myriad of foes. I admired. and a stick to open burs with in my hand. is quite forgotten. and the smoothness of the water were all against him. pendants of the meadow grass. much like that of a frost-bitten potato. and so I left him disappearing far away on the tumultuous surface. amid the rustling of leaves and the loud reproofs of the red squirrels and the jays. leaving the smooth meadow in a snarl. as when a beast puts his muzzle to the ground and deliberately howls. I concluded that he laughed in derision of my efforts. But after an hour he seemed as fresh as ever. which the farmer plucks with an ugly rake. small waxen gems. probably more like that of a wolf than any bird.they now sleep their long sleep under the railroad -. When compelled to rise they would sometimes circle round and round and over the pond at a considerable height. to satisfy the tastes of lovers of Nature there. and had not dreamed it. the stillness of the air. This tuber seemed like a faint promise of Nature to rear her own children and feed them simply here at some future period. It has a sweetish taste. but I collected a small store of wild apples for coddling. It was very exciting at that season to roam the then boundless chestnut woods of Lincoln -. So butchers rake the tongues of bison out of the prairie grass. tricks which they will have less need to practise in Louisiana bayous. At length having come up fifty rods off. This was his looning -. as far as they went. like black motes in the sky. His usual note was this demoniac laughter. far from the sportsman. as I had told. doing all the work with his webbed feet beneath. and his god was angry with me. It was surprising to see how serenely he sailed off with unruffled breast when he came to the surface.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 97 the last seed of corn to the great cornfield of the Indian's God in the southwest. The chimney is to some extent an independent structure. standing on the ground. Many of the villages of Mesopotamia are built of second-hand bricks of a very good quality. by the first of September. sometimes deterring visitors from entering. and they gradually disappeared. the chimney carried smoke particularly well. Some Indian Ceres or Minerva must have been the inventor and bestower of it. I was struck by the peculiar toughness of the steel which bore so many violent blows without being worn out. than by an artificial fire. but I did not trouble myself much to get rid of them. because of the numerous chinks between the boards. and resume its ancient importance and dignity as the diet of the hunter tribe. and also made my mortar with the white sand from the same place. They never molested me seriously. its leaves and string of nuts may be represented on our works of art. He shared with me the labors of cooking. required to be cleaned with a trowel. The mortar on them was fifty years old. and it admired itself reflected in the smooth mirror of the lake. and rising through the house to the heavens. and rafters with the bark on high overhead. I thus warmed myself by the still glowing embers which the summer. Ah. and reflected. yet I did not get a stiff neck for it that I remember. Each morning. for the old upon the walls. I even felt complimented by their regarding my house as a desirable shelter. though I had two. if it proceeded slowly. and the cement on them is older and probably harder still. I had seen two or three small maples turned scarlet across the pond. and was said to be still growing harder. though I was obliged to confess that it was more comfortable. obtained from the ruins of Babylon. Already. it is so deep. Such sayings themselves grow harder and adhere more firmly with age. surrounded by the rough brown boards full of knots. I was pleased to see my work rising so square and solid by degrees. I picked out its many fireplace bricks as I could find. but this is one of those sayings which men love to repeat whether they are true or not. However that may be. it was calculated to endure a long time. and when the reign of poetry commences here. though I did not read the name of Nebuchadnezzar on them. distinguished by more brilliant or harmonious coloring. As my bricks had been in a chimney before. before I finally went into winter quarters in November. but the now almost exterminated ground-nut will perhaps revive and flourish in spite of frosts and wildness. The north wind had already begun to cool the pond. whence he is said to have brought it. Yet I passed some cheerful evenings in that cool and airy apartment. it is so much pleasanter and wholesomer to be warmed by the sun while you can be. which caused me to be put to it for room. into what crevices I do not know. made the fireside of the pond. though it took many weeks of steady blowing to accomplish it. I swept some of them out. This was toward the end of summer. like a departed hunter. so that I learned more than usual of the qualities of bricks and trowels. avoiding winter and unspeakable cold. beneath where the white stems of three aspens diverged. Indeed. a course of bricks raised a few inches above the floor served for my pillow at night. Should not every apartment in which man dwells be . as to winter quarters. He brought his own knife. I lingered most about the fireplace. before I plastered my house. When I came to build my chimney I studied masonry. My bricks. had left. and its importance and independence are apparent. when they were numbed with cold. that though I commenced at the ground in the morning. and settled on my windows within and on the walls overhead. When I began to have a fire at evening. many a tale their color told! And gradually from week to week the character of each tree came out. Each morning the manager of this gallery substituted some new picture. though they bedded with me. which the sun. I used to resort to the northeast side of Walden. being second-hand ones. next the water. even after the house is burned it still stands sometimes. and it would take many blows with a trowel to clean an old wiseacre of them. The wasps came by thousands to my lodge in October. at the point of a promontory. my stiff neck is of older date. and we used to scour them by thrusting them into the earth. as the most vital part of the house. and I filled the spaces between the bricks about the fireplace with stones from the pond shore. reflected from the pitch pine woods and the stony shore. prove itself indigenous. to save work and waste. I took a poet to board for a fortnight about those times. My house never pleased my eye so much after it was plastered. that. It was now November. Like the wasps. I worked so deliberately.

at once kitchen. and you cannot go in at the front door and out at the back without seeing some of its inhabitants. I now first began to inhabit my house. as if it would shake the house to its . that a man should use. derive from living in a house. and the ceremony is over. As if only the savage dwelt near enough to Nature and Truth to borrow a trope from them." that is. and hospitality is the art of keeping you at the greatest distance. chamber. and without gingerbread work. without further journey. It would seem as if the very language of our parlors would lose all its nerve and degenerate into palaver wholly. where the weary traveller may wash. master or servant. I am aware that I have been on many a man's premises. where you can see all the treasures of the house at one view. and told to make yourself at home there -. nor the fire. dolia multa. a jug of molasses. I might visit in my old clothes a king and queen who lived simply in such a house as I have described. storehouse. the master of a family (patremfamilias) must have in his rustic villa "cellam oleariam. rude. "an oil and wine cellar. I had got a couple of old fire-dogs to keep the wood from the hearth. There is as much secrecy about the cooking as if he had a design to poison you. nor the mistress. tell what is parliamentary in the kitchen? However. through slides and dumb-waiters. and everything hangs upon its peg. a cavernous house. shut up in a particular cell. chamber. about two quarts of peas with the weevil in them. I enjoyed it all. primitive hall. if they choose. Cato says. who dwells away in the North West Territory or the Isle of Man. where the king and queen posts stand out to receive your homage. some at another. standing in a golden age. where you can see so necessary a thing. I may say. and the oven that bakes your bread. our lives pass at such remoteness from its symbols. it will be for his advantage. so that it may be pleasant to expect hard times. uti lubeat caritatem expectare. where some may live in the fireplace. and I could hardly entertain an echo in it. containing all the essentials of a house. but I am not aware that I have been in many men's houses. parlor. it was kitchen. but when they saw that crisis approaching they beat a hasty retreat rather. and virtue. a house which you have got into when you have opened the outside door. A house whose inside is as open and manifest as a bird's nest.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 98 lofty enough to create some obscurity overhead. substantial. and so learn whether the ground is solid or hollow beneath you without stamping. where flickering shadows may play at evening about the rafters? These forms are more agreeable to the fancy and imagination than fresco paintings or other the most expensive furniture. such a shelter as you would be glad to reach in a tempestuous night. vinariam. some in the recess of a window. some at one end of the hall. Nowadays the host does not admit you to his hearth. and some on settles. so convenient a thing as a cupboard. many casks. in other words. and keeping-room. and on my shelf a little rice. parlor. and nothing for house-keeping. if ever I am caught in one. and hear the pot boil. and not to be carefully excluded from seven eighths of it. and it did me good to see the soot form on the back of the chimney which I had built. but it seemed larger for being a single apartment and remote from neighbors. The dinner even is only the parable of a dinner. of enduring materials. as it were. where to be a guest is to be presented with the freedom of the house. and the necessary furniture and utensils are the chief ornaments. and garret. How can the scholar. and of rye and Indian meal a peck each. when the cook would descend into the cellar. and its metaphors and tropes are necessarily so far fetched. where the washing is not put out. and whatever satisfaction parent or child.in solitary confinement. and perhaps you are sometimes requested to move from off the trap-door. as a barrel or a ladder. the parlor is so far from the kitchen and workshop. and eat. et gloriae erit. and I poked the fire with more right and more satisfaction than usual. without ceiling or plastering. and some aloft on rafters with the spiders. when you have done reverence to the prostrate Saturn of an older dynasty on stepping over the sill. I sometimes dream of a larger and more populous house. but backing out of a modern palace will be all that I shall desire to learn. My dwelling was small. but has got the mason to build one for yourself somewhere in his alley. and might have been legally ordered off. which shall still consist of only one room. and pay your respects to the fire that cooks your dinner. a vast. with bare rafters and purlins supporting a sort of lower heaven over one's head -useful to keep off rain and snow. when I began to use it for warmth as well as shelter. wherein you must reach up a torch upon a pole to see the roof. All the attractions of a house were concentrated in one room. and converse." I had in my cellar a firkin of potatoes. only one or two of my guests were ever bold enough to stay and eat a hasty-pudding with me. commonly. et virtuti. and sleep. and glory. if I were going their way. pantry. et rei.

There are many furrows in the sand where some creature has travelled about and doubled on its tracks. who. The new ice had formed around and under the bubble. 99 I did not plaster till it was freezing weather. It was wholly in the lower ice. which our river affords. it stood through a great many hasty-puddings. hardly an eighth of an inch . like a picture behind a glass. which so effectually shuts out the cold and takes a handsome finish. minute spherical bubbles one directly above another. The pond had in the meanwhile skimmed over in the shadiest and shallowest coves. I sometimes used to cast on stones to try the strength of the ice. sharp cones with the apex upward. Perhaps these have creased it. I found that those large bubbles were still perfect. very clear and beautiful. was wont to lounge about the village once. though you must improve the earliest opportunity to study it. which at first appeared to be within it. are against its under surface. though they are deep and broad for them to make. if the ice is quite fresh. some days or even weeks before the general freezing. and lost their regularity. to his complete discomfiture. and transparent. for wrecks. so that it was included between the two ices. or in thin flakes. and I was surprised to find that directly under the bubble the ice was melted with great regularity in the form of a saucer reversed. and the water is necessarily always smooth then. The beauty of the ice was gone. and was flattish. My house had in the meanwhile been shingled down to the ground on every side. made a bold gesture thitherward. which formed very large and conspicuous white bubbles beneath. it is strewn with the cases of caddis-worms made of minute grains of white quartz. and study the bottom at your leisure. One day when I came to the same place forty-eight hours afterward. But these within the ice are not so numerous nor obvious as those beneath. I broke out a cake containing a middling sized one. I remembered the story of a conceited fellow. In lathing I was pleased to be able to send home each nail with a single blow of the hammer. like a skater insect on the surface of the water. to the height of five eighths of an inch in the middle. If you examine it closely the morning after it freezes. Being curious to know what position my great bubbles occupied with regard to the new ice. and I learned the various casualties to which the plasterer is liable. but close against the upper. but often like silvery coins poured from a bag. Nevertheless. and you see your face reflected in them through the ice. showing the dark green color of the water.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor foundations. if I had cared to do so. and. like a string of beads. There may be thirty or forty of them to a square inch. but opaque and whitish or gray. These bubbles are from an eightieth to an eighth of an inch in diameter. seized a plasterer's board. like an Indian summer. I brought over some whiter and cleaner sand for this purpose from the opposite shore of the pond in a boat. he turned up his cuffs. I had the previous winter made a small quantity of lime by burning the shells of the Unio fluviatilis. the ice was not now transparent. Venturing one day to substitute deeds for words. I might have got good limestone within a mile or two and burned it myself. and that more are continually rising from the bottom. or perhaps slightly lenticular. I was surprised to see how thirsty the bricks were which drank up all the moisture in my plaster before I had smoothed it. received the whole contents in his ruffled bosom. and affords the best opportunity that ever offers for examining the bottom where it is shallow. for the sake of the experiment. giving advice to workmen. But the ice itself is the object of most interest. a quarter of an inch deep by four inches in diameter. in fine clothes. as I could see distinctly by the seam in the edge of a cake. so that I knew where my materials came from. and it was my ambition to transfer the plaster from the board to the wall neatly and rapidly. you find that the greater part of the bubbles. for you can lie at your length on ice only an inch thick. a sort of conveyance which would have tempted me to go much farther if necessary. and it was too late to study the bottom. and those which broke through carried in air with them. dark. and though twice as thick was hardly stronger than before. being hard. as if occupying slight cleavages. or oftener. and having loaded his trowel without mishap. one overlapping another. with a complacent look toward the lathing overhead. that is. and the bottom. There are also already within the ice narrow oblong perpendicular bubbles about half an inch long. you see the water through it. only two or three inches distant. and turned it bottom upward. with a rounded edge. But as the last two days had been very warm. for the air bubbles had greatly expanded under this heat and run together. leaving a thin partition there between the water and the bubble. they were no longer one directly over another. while the ice is as yet comparatively solid and dark. for you find some of their cases in the furrows. and how many pailfuls of water it takes to christen a new hearth. The first ice is especially interesting and perfect. I admired anew the economy and convenience of plastering. though an inch more of ice had formed. and straightway.

would believe that it is sacred to some god.. It is remarkable what a value is still put upon wood even in this age and in this new country. steal. in '52. and in many places the small bubbles in this partition had burst out downward. There was also the driftwood of the pond. as if the pitch. I withdrew yet farther into my shell. nay. which were a foot in diameter. pinned together by the Irish when the railroad was built. nay. even after the ground was covered with snow. I grieved when it was cut down by the proprietors themselves. In 1845 Walden froze entirely over for the first time on the night of the 22d of December. bringing it in my hands or on my shoulders. had operated like a burning-glass on the ice beneath to melt and rot it. Whatever god or goddess thou art to whom this grove is sacred. Though completely waterlogged and almost as heavy as lead. and the other on the ice. burned longer. the fuel to cook it with! His bread and meat are sweet. that of the best wood in Paris. and that each. though this . they not only burned long. and sometimes exceeds. and the faint honk or quack of their leader as they hurried off. hinder the growth of the young wood. Michaux. The snow had already covered the ground since the 25th of November. I would that our farmers when they cut down a forest felt some of that awe which the old Romans did when they came to thin. Several times. or else ducks. but made a very hot fire. my family. There are enough fagots and waste wood of all kinds in the forests of most of our towns to support many fires. I inferred that the infinite number of minute bubbles which I had first seen against the under surface of the ice were now frozen in likewise. and the houses and fences thus raised on the borders of the forest. Flint's and other shallower ponds and the river having been frozen ten days or more. or I tied several logs together with a birch withe. Gilpin. more than thirty years ago. In the course of the summer I had discovered a raft of pitch pine logs with the bark on. I heard the tread of a flock of geese. we make our gun-stocks of it. nay. says that "the encroachments of trespassers. nearly half a mile. with a longer birch or alder which had a book at the end. I sacrificed it to Vulcan. the 5th of January. or sometimes trailing a dead pine tree under each arm to my shed." to the frightening of the game and the detriment of the forest. just as I had finished plastering. a consecrated grove (lucum conlucare). in its degree. and in '50. you might say. dragged them across. or let in the light to. some to alight in Walden.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 100 thick. and were severely punished under the name of purprestures. An old forest fence which had seen its best days was a great haul for me. and endeavored to keep a bright fire both within my house and within my breast. and prayed. a value more permanent and universal than that of gold. that is. in '46. If they made their bows of it. as in a lamp. as tending ad terrorem ferarum -. I grieved with a grief that lasted longer and was more inconsolable than that of the proprietors. where they had come up to feed. and probably there was no ice at all under the largest bubbles. about the 27th of December. I amused myself one winter day with sliding this piecemeal across the pond. skating behind with one end of a log fifteen feet long on my shoulder. etc. and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter. being confined by the water. some think. the 16th. in '53. bound for Mexico. be propitious to me. the 31st of December. for it was past serving the god Terminus. I thought that they burned better for the soaking.ad nocumentum forestae. and then. though waterlogged past drying. and if any part was burned. but which at present warm none. My employment out of doors now was to collect the dead wood in the forest. After all our discoveries and inventions no man will go by a pile of wood. and. and children. Night after night the geese came lumbering in the dark with a clangor and a whistling of wings. though I burned it myself by accident." were "considered as great nuisances by the old forest law. These are the little air-guns which contribute to make the ice crack and whoop. The Roman made an expiatory offering. on the dry leaves in the woods by a pond-hole behind my dwelling. But I was interested in the preservation of the venison and the vert more than the hunters or woodchoppers. After soaking two years and then lying high six months it was perfectly sound. and the wind began to howl around the house as if it had not had permission to do so till then. etc. and as much as though I had been the Lord Warden himself. in his account of the forest borderers of England. says that the price of wood for fuel in New York and Philadelphia "nearly equals. This I hauled up partly on the shore. At length the winter set in good earnest. How much more interesting an event is that man's supper who has just been forth in the snow to hunt. It is as precious to us as it was to our Saxon and Norman ancestors. about the 31st. in '49. and some flying low over the woods toward Fair Haven. when returning from the village at ten or eleven o'clock at night.

at least. when he has a camp in the woods. will still be sound at the core. When the villagers were lighting their fires beyond the horizon. Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight. Circling above the hamlets as thy nest. As for the axe.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 101 immense capital annually requires more than three hundred thousand cords. In previous years I had often gone prospecting over some bare hillside. gathering up thy skirts. Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. and by day Darkening the light and blotting out the sun. with which by spells in winter days. but I jumped him. and follow the marrowy store. made it do. putting a hickory helve from the woods into it. though the sapwood has all become vegetable mould. If it was dull. Mechanics and tradesmen who come in person to the forest on no other errand. Green hickory finely split makes the woodchopper's kindlings. and when I returned. Lark without song. and again when they were on the fire. I was advised to get the village blacksmith to "jump" it. it was at least hung true. I love to have mine before my window. A few pieces of fat pine were a great treasure. They are almost indestructible. three or four . It is interesting to remember how much of this food for fire is still concealed in the bowels of the earth. Goody Blake and Harry Gill. Or else." In this town the price of wood rises almost steadily.once while I was splitting them. and messenger of dawn. yellow as beef tallow. I had an old axe which nobody claimed. though I used but little of that. and shadowy form Of midnight vision. With axe and shovel you explore this mine. deep into the earth. As my driver prophesied when I was plowing. how much higher it is to be this year than it was the last. and got out the fat pine roots. I too gave notice to the various wild inhabitants of Walden vale. they warmed me twice -. that I was awake. answered my purpose better than any other. on the sunny side of the house. It is now many years that men have resorted to the forest for fuel and the materials of the arts: the New Englander and the New Hollander. Hard green wood just cut. equally require still a few sticks from the forest to warm them and cook their food.-Light-winged Smoke. the scholar and the savage. the Parisian and the Celt. as appears by the scales of the thick bark forming a ring level with the earth four or five inches distant from the heart. I played about the stumps which I had got out of my bean-field. so that no fuel could give out more heat. Stumps thirty or forty years old. By night star-veiling. But commonly I kindled my fire with the dry leaves of the forest. Icarian bird. in most parts of the world the prince and the peasant. the farmer and Robin Hood. and the more chips the better to remind me of my pleasing work. Go thou my incense upward from this hearth. I sometimes left a good fire when I went to take a walk in a winter afternoon. Neither could I do without them. departing dream. which I had stored up in my shed before the snow came. and even pay a high price for the privilege of gleaning after the woodchopper. by a smoky streamer from my chimney. Once in a while I got a little of this. And ask the gods to pardon this clear flame. and is surrounded to the distance of three hundred miles by cultivated plains. where a pitch pine wood had formerly stood. or as if you had struck on a vein of gold. and. are sure to attend the wood auction. and the only question is.

Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 102 hours afterward. maintain a kind of summer in the midst of winter. boxes up some air in a spacious apartment. and warms that. that I could afford to let the fire go out in the middle of almost any winter day. Though. no longer a poetic. and commonly my housekeeper proved trustworthy. life imaging. Thus he goes a step or two beyond instinct. for the most part. in these days of stoves. which he warms with his body. makes that his bed. and the pertinent words of a poet recurred to me with new force. may be denied to me Thy dear. when I reached the genial atmosphere of my house I soon recovered my faculties and prolonged my life. but merely a chemic process. we are safe and strong. in which he can move about divested of more cumbrous clothing. so I looked and saw that a spark had caught my bed. instead of robbing himself.-"Never. or greater snow would put a period to man's existence on the globe. that we used to roast potatoes in the ashes. and by means of windows even admit the light. Some of my friends spoke as if I was coming to the woods on purpose to freeze myself. and they survive the winter only because they are so careful to secure them. It will soon be forgotten. purifies his thoughts of the dross and earthiness which they have accumulated during the day. nor need we trouble ourselves to speculate how the human race may be at last destroyed. My house was not empty though I was gone. who are so dull? Did thy bright gleam mysterious converse hold With our congenial souls? secrets too bold? Well. as I was splitting wood. since I did not own the forest. and its roof was so low. but man. and with a lamp lengthen out the day. What but my hopes shot upward e'er so bright? What but my fortunes sunk so low in night? Why art thou banished from our hearth and hall. I thought that I would just look in at the window and see if the house was not on fire. It was I and Fire that lived there. and making a snug bed even there of some hair left after plastering and of brown paper. bright flame. but it did not keep fire so well as the open fireplace. The next winter I used a small cooking-stove for economy. The stove not only took up room and scented the house. But I could no longer sit and look into the fire. however. when I had been exposed to the rudest blasts a long time. it would be still alive and glowing. it was the only time I remember to have been particularly anxious on this score. The moles nested in my cellar. nibbling every third potato. and saves a little time for the fine arts. in a sheltered place. for now we sit . It was as if I had left a cheerful housekeeper behind. for even the wildest animals love comfort and warmth as well as man. One day. But the most luxuriously housed has little to boast of in this respect. Thou who art welcomed and beloved by all? Was thy existence then too fanciful For our life's common light. looking into it at evening. Cooking was then. having discovered fire. It would be easy to cut their threads any time with a little sharper blast from the north. close sympathy. The laborer. But my house occupied so sunny and sheltered a position. We go on dating from Cold Fridays and Great Snows. and I felt as if I had lost a companion. but it concealed the fire. and I went in and extinguished it when it had burned a place as big as my hand. but a little colder Friday. The animal merely makes a bed. my whole body began to grow torpid. after the Indian fashion. You can always see a face in the fire.

One old frequenter of these woods remembers. She led a hard life. Cato's half-obliterated cellar-hole still remains. Down the road. but in the night their dark line was my guide." slave of Squire Cummings once -. or for the woodman's team. -. the pines would scrape both sides of a chaise at once. Some say that he was a Guinea Negro.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor Beside a hearth where no dim shadows flit. Esquire. and spent some cheerful winter evenings by my fireside. It is now filled with the smooth sumach (Rhus glabra). and lingered longer in his memory. East of my bean-field. And with us by the unequal light of the old wood fire talked. though it was then much more shut in by the forest than now. it once amused the traveller more than now by its variety. and often ran a good part of the distance. Within the memory of many of my townsmen the road near which my house stands resounded with the laugh and gossip of inhabitants. and so not only made a my bed for my feet. Zilpha. within my own remembrance. For human society I was obliged to conjure up the former occupants of these woods. where she spun linen for the townsfolk. now the Alms-House Farm. occupies an equally narrow house at present. prisoners on parole. and one of the earliest species of goldenrod (Solidago stricta) grows there luxuriantly. slave of Duncan Ingraham. and her cat and dog and hens were all burned up together. Where now firm open fields stretch from the village to the woods. for when I had once gone through the wind blew the oak leaves into my tracks. Nor fear the ghosts who from the dim past walked. and somewhat inhumane. Where nothing cheers nor saddens. the remnants of which. bones!" I have seen bricks amid the oak copse there.there where grow still the apple trees which Brister planted and tended. being concealed from the traveller by a fringe of pines. For many weeks I met no one in my walks but those who came occasionally to cut wood and sled it to the village. across the road. gentleman. while the snow whirled wildly without." Former Inhabitants and Winter Visitors 103 I weathered some merry snow-storms. He too. Here. lived Brister Freeman. when she was away."Ye are all bones.nor does to more aspire. There are a few who remember his little patch among the walnuts. At length. a colored woman. and gave him permission to live in Walden Woods. By whose compact utilitarian heap The present may sit down and go to sleep. large old trees . which he let grow up till he should be old and need them. doubtless. had her little house. it then ran through a maple swamp on a foundation of logs. abetted me in making a path through the deepest snow in the woods. but a younger and whiter speculator got them at last. on the right hand. and by absorbing the rays of the sun melted the snow. though known to few. on Brister's Hill. but Concordiensis. in the war of 1812. lived Cato Ingraham. her dwelling was set on fire by English soldiers. who built his slave a house. and women and children who were compelled to go this way to Lincoln alone and on foot did it with fear. and the woods which border it were notched and dotted here and there with their little gardens and dwellings. from the Stratton. not Uticensis. of Concord village. where they lodged. for she had a loud and notable voice. however. making the Walden Woods ring with her shrill singing. In some places. Though mainly but a humble route to neighboring villages. that as he passed her house one noon he heard her muttering to herself over her gurgling pot -. by the very corner of my field. The elements. however. and even the hooting of the owl was hushed. still nearer to town. but a fire Warms feet and hands -. still underlie the present dusty highway. "a handy Negro. to Brister's Hill.Cato.

led by a straggling troop of men and boys. It was about the size of mine. "It is the Codman place. the heir of both its virtues and its vices. one Election night. and then robs and murders the whole family -. as if the roof fell in. having an uncle who goes to sleep shaving himself. as it was afterward whispered.Scipio Africanus he had some title to be called -"a man of color. and hearing a low moaning at this spot. are marks of some homestead of the Stratton family. shop.large. So we stood round our engine. and deserves. and rearmost of all." cried one. The very nearness of the fire but cooled our ardor. a little on one side.barn. you come to Breed's location.New-England Rum." I would except that passage in the preface about wit being the soul's powder -." But as for "Gondibert. and went their ways again. who has acted a prominent and astounding part in our New England life. and black. his hospitable wife. the well the same. rejecting the evidence of our senses. on the left. as Indians are to powder. It was set on fire by mischievous boys. expressed our sentiments through speaking-trumpets. about the same hour. and heard and told the news. excepting a few stumps. by the way. between ourselves. yet pleasantly -. Here then men saluted one another. But history must not yet tell the tragedies enacted here. blacker than any of the children of night. came they who set the fire and gave the alarm. ground famous for the pranks of a demon not distinctly named in old mythology. among the rest. as much as any mythological character. He had been working far off in the river meadows all day. which was but an indirect way of informing me that he ever lived. lying on his stomach and looking over the cellar wall at the still smouldering cinders beneath. with staring emphasis. and in hot haste the engines rolled that way." affirmed another.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 104 now. or as the consequence of my attempt to read Chalmers' collection of English poetry without skipping. and we all shouted "Concord to the rescue!" Wagons shot past with furious speed and crushing loads. just on the edge of the wood. Breed's hut was standing only a dozen years ago. who told fortunes. and had improved the first moments that he could call . It also told me. we could turn that threatened last and universal one into another flood. or all together. to have his biography written one day. With him dwelt Fenda. such a dusky orb as never rose on Concord before or since. and had just lost myself over Davenant's "Gondibert. Not long since I read his epitaph in the old Lincoln burying-ground. and discovered the only survivor of the family that I know. near the unmarked graves of some British grenadiers who fell in the retreat from Concord -. And then fresh sparks went up above the wood. and realized. "It's Baker's barn. or dwelling-house. jostled one another. it was so far gone and so worthless. in order to keep awake and keep the Sabbath.where he is styled "Sippio Brister" -. I lived on the edge of the village then. the agent of the Insurance Company. but their fruit still wild and ciderish to my taste. which tempered the traveller's beverage and refreshed his steed. and. who first comes in the guise of a friend or hired man." and a full frog-pond by."but most of mankind are strangers to wit. but was long since killed out by pitch pines. Nearer yet to town. who was bound to go however far. as is his wont. and is obliged to sprout potatoes in a cellar Sundays. until at a turn in the road we heard the crackling and actually felt the heat of the fire from over the wall. round. perchance. though it had long been unoccupied. We finally retreated without doing any mischief -." as if he were discolored. We thought it was far south over the woods -. and I among the foremost. whose old roots furnish still the wild stocks of many a thrifty village tree. when he died.returned to sleep and "Gondibert. let time intervene in some measure to assuage and lend an azure tint to them. At first we thought to throw a frog-pond on to it. and ever and anon the engine bell tinkled behind." It chanced that I walked that way across the fields the following night. bearing. I drew near in the dark. were we there in season with our "tub. or in lower tone referred to the great conflagrations which the world has witnessed. whose orchard once covered all the slope of Brister's Hill. but concluded to let it burn. Thus we kept on like true idealists. we thought that. including Bascom's shop. on the old road in the woods. I never knew whether to regard as a family complaint. alas! that we were there. I had just sunk my head on this when the bells rung fire. for I had leaped the brook. if I do not mistake. Farther down the hill.we who had run to fires before -. on the other side of the way." that winter that I labored with a lethargy -which. muttering to himself. It fairly overcame my Nervii. Here the most indistinct and dubious tradition says that once a tavern stood. more slow and sure. who alone was interested in this burning.

which. Sometimes the well dent is visible. or it was covered deep -. Now only a dent in the earth marks the site of these dwellings. as if they were himself. he looked at what there was left. feeling for the iron hook or staple by which a burden had been fastened to the heavy end -. like deserted fox burrows. The last inhabitant of these woods before me was an Irishman. and a sweet-scented black birch. thimble-berries. on the left. when I was hoeing. Rumor said that he had been a soldier at Waterloo. in the now open field.the covering up of wells! coincident with the opening of wells of tears. being affected with the trembling delirium. and showed me." in some form and dialect or other were by turns discussed. and was capable of more civil speech than you could well attend to. free will. when his comrades avoided it as "an unlucky castle." for form's sake.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 105 his own to visit the home of his fathers and his youth. He wore a greatcoat in midsummer. He died in the road at the foot of Brister's Hill shortly after I came to the woods." I visited it. Wyman the potter squatted. Hugh Quoil (if I have spelt his name with coil enough). and furnished his townsmen with earthenware. there being nothing else that he could lay his hands on. One day in midsummer. The house being gone. which had been planted but had never received its first hoeing. though it was now harvest time. black as night and as silent. and "attached a chip. lived Nutting and Le Grosse. His trade here was that of a ditcher. Once more. are all that is left where once were the stir and bustle of human life. But all I can learn of their conclusions amounts to just this. foreknowledge absolute. But to return toward Lincoln. The last could never have been the symbol of his death. when the last of the race departed. holding the land by sufferance while they lived. could never be burned. as if there was some treasure. like one who had seen the world. and he groped long about the wall to find the well-sweep which his father had cut and mounted. spades. Quoil. These cellar dents. though he had heard of Brister's Spring. with buried cellar stones. implied. and still remark it almost daily in my walks. There lay his old clothes curled up by use. He gazed into the cellar from all sides and points of view by turns. were scattered over the floor.to convince me that it was no common "rider. and strawberries. always lying down to it. He had long ago bought a potter's wheel of him. which last stuck to my clothes for all fruit. now dry and tearless grass. Before his house was pulled down. and "fate. where are seen the well and lilac bushes by the wall. as I have read in his accounts. kings of diamonds. He was soothed by the sympathy which my mere presence. and there often the sheriff came in vain to collect the taxes. If he had lived I should have made him fight his battles over again. Neither were they rich in worldly goods. and I was pleased to hear that so fictile an art was ever practiced in my neighborhood. I had read of the potter's clay and wheel in Scripture. thank Heaven. Quoil came to Walden Woods.all that he could now cling to -. still went to roost in the next apartment. he was called. so that I have not remembered him as a neighbor. raspberries. All I know of him is tragic. and soiled cards. owing to those terrible shaking fits. One black chicken which the administrator could not catch. where there was absolutely nothing but a heap of bricks and ashes. not even croaking. instead of a bowl broken at the fountain.Col. as well as the darkness permitted. The skin of a woodchuck was freshly stretched upon the back of the house. where once a spring oozed. His pipe lay broken on the hearth. that "Cato . hazel-bushes. Napoleon went to St. and his face was the color of carmine. where the well was covered up. upon his raised plank bed. and hearts. concealed between the stones. which he remembered. for by it hangs the history of a family. What a sorrowful act must that be -. but no warm cap or mittens would he want more. who occupied Wyman's tenement -. but it had never occurred to me that the pots we use were not such as had come down unbroken from those days. he had never seen it. and wished to know what had become of him. where the road approaches nearest to the pond. He was a man of manners. a man who was carrying a load of pottery to market stopped his horse against my field and inquired concerning Wyman the younger.with a flat stone under the sod. and left descendants to succeed him. old holes. Farther in the woods than any of these. perhaps. and sumachs growing in the sunny sward there. for he confessed to me that. It was overrun with Roman wormwood and beggar-ticks. awaiting Reynard. In the rear there was the dim outline of a garden. Helena.not to be discovered till some late day -. or grown on trees like gourds somewhere. some pitch pine or gnarled oak occupies what was the chimney nook. waves where the door-stone was. a trophy of his last Waterloo." I felt it.

the last of that stirp. and shaking down another snow-storm on my head at every step. He could hear me when I moved and cronched the snow with my feet. and outlive them. The Great Snow! How cheerful it is to hear of! When the farmers could not get to the woods and swamps with their teams. civil.to such routine the winter reduces us -. for I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree. Deliver me from a city built on the site of a more ancient city. ten feet from the ground. I mark its still tender. sole survivor of that family. in front-yard plots -. and so relieved the family. and an Indian found it only by the hole which the chimney's breath made in the drift. and of the same length. forsooth? Ay. mat-making. Might not the basket. and my house raised last spring to be the oldest in the hamlet. Alas! how little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape! Again. For a week of even weather I took exactly the same number of steps. whose materials are ruins. whose gardens cemeteries. and were obliged to cut down the shade trees before their houses. as it appeared the next spring. whose cottage was completely covered by the great snow of 1717 when he was absent. But no friendly Indian concerned himself about me. or like that early settler's family in the town of Sutton. making the wilderness to blossom like the rose. corn-parching. stable-broom. and. When the snow lay deepest no wanderer ventured near my house for a week or fortnight at a time. or as cattle and poultry which are said to have survived for a long time buried in drifts. In the deepest snows. They were universally a thirsty race. coming and going. or an old acquaintance among the pines. close to the trunk. Little did the dusky children think that the puny slip with its two eyes only. I am not aware that any man has ever built on the spot which I occupy. unfolding its sweet-scented flowers each spring. and giving place to new-rising forests. and erect his neck feathers.yet often they were filled with heaven's own blue. but could not plainly see me. with wide intervals between the dots. and so sharpening their tops. had changed the pines into fir trees. But no weather interfered fatally with my walks.blossoming as fair. cut off the trees in the swamps. planted and tended once by children's hands. At this season I seldom had a visitor. 106 Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and the sill are gone. which is about as edifying as the history of more famous schools of philosophy. and . when the hunters had gone into winter quarters. would root itself so.now standing by wallsides in retired pastures. Nature will try. but there I lived as snug as a meadow mouse. and house itself in the rear that shaded it. when the ice and snow causing their limbs to droop. the path which I used from the highway to my house. linen-spinning. and grown man's garden and orchard. The soil is blanched and accursed there. in broad daylight. With such reminiscences I repeopled the woods and lulled myself asleep. and tell their story faintly to the lone wanderer a half-century after they had grown up and died -. with me for a first settler. in this State. One afternoon I amused myself by watching a barred owl (Strix nebulosa) sitting on one of the lower dead limbs of a white pine. When I made most noise he would stretch out his neck. or a yellow birch. to be plucked by the musing traveller. -. germ of something more. and before that becomes necessary the earth itself will be destroyed. stepping deliberately and with the precision of a pair of dividers in my own deep tracks -.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor and Brister pulled wool". I standing within a rod of him. and pottery business have thrived here. why did it fail while Concord keeps its ground? Were there no natural advantages -. the deep Walden Pond and cool Brister's Spring -privilege to drink long and healthy draughts at these. about half a mile long. nor needed he. wading to the tops of the highest hills when the show was nearly two feet deep on a level. or rather my going abroad. which they stuck in the ground in the shadow of the house and daily watered. even without food. perhaps. as in that first spring.no water privileges. when the crust was harder. might have been represented by a meandering dotted line. for the master of the house was at home. all unimproved by these men but to dilute their glass. cheerful lilac colors. and smelling as sweet. and a numerous posterity have inherited the land of their fathers? The sterile soil would at least have been proof against a low-land degeneracy. But this small village. or sometimes creeping and floundering thither on my hands and knees.

was a poet. The one who came from farthest to my lodge. a soldier. I could not hear the slightest sound from them.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 107 open his eyes wide. winged brother of the cat. with half-shut eyes. afterwards. He has no venture in the present. some warm and springly swamp where the grass and the skunk-cabbage still put forth with perennial verdure. thus. he would grow uneasy and sluggishly turn about on his perch. and he will be the last man to be disappointed as the ages revolve. At suitable intervals there were regular salutes of laughter. for those which have the thickest shells are commonly empty. and when the frost had smitten me on one cheek. and is as ready to extract the moral out of church or state as to haul a load of manure from his barn-yard. bracing weather. where he might in peace await the dawning of his day. nor even the fine print. which combined the advantages of conviviality with the clear-headedness which philosophy requires. For I came to town still. One of the last of the philosophers -. as if impatient at having his dreams disturbed. And when I returned new drifts would have formed. even a philosopher. We made many a "bran new" theory of life over a thin dish of gruel.he peddled first her wares. a reporter. even when doctors sleep. I should not forget that during my last winter at the pond there was another welcome visitor. and half an hour sufficed to obliterate the tracks of the last traveller. notwithstanding the snow. As I walked over the long causeway made for the railroad through the meadows. Broadway was still and deserted in comparison. Or on a Sunday afternoon. looking out from the land of dreams. Sometimes. I turned to it the other also. by which be preserved a pennisular relation to me. We talked of rude and simple times. but their lids soon fell again. laws unsuspected by most will take effect. and my house filled with the odor of his pipe. who from far through the woods sought my house.Connecticut gave him to the world -. Nor was it much better by the carriage road from Brister's Hill. the small type. Yet I rarely failed to find. like the nut its kernel. which might have been referred indifferently to the last-uttered or the forth-coming jest. he found a new perch. Thus. of a meadow mouse was to be seen. We made that small house ring with boisterous mirth and resound with the murmur of much sober talk. and endeavoring to realize me. till he saw my lamp through the trees. and when other dessert failed. heathen as I was. A farmer. if I chanced to be at home. as it were. vague object or mote that interrupted his visions. a hunter. we tried our teeth on many a nut which wise squirrels have long since abandoned. and masters of families and rulers will come to him for advice. guided amid the pine boughs rather by a delicate sense of their neighborhood than by sight. on some louder noise or my nearer approach. feeling his twilight way. may be daunted. . one of the few of his vocation who are "men on their farms". with clear heads. His words and attitude always suppose a better state of things than other men are acquainted with. I too felt a slumberous influence after watching him half an hour. I encountered many a blustering and nipping wind. when I returned from my walk at evening I crossed the deep tracks of a woodchopper leading from my door. his brains. where the busy northwest wind had been depositing the powdery snow round a sharp angle in the road. and shared with me some long winter evenings. when men sat about large fires in cold. to have a social "crack". who donned a frock instead of a professor's gown. bearing for fruit his brain only. for he is actuated by pure love. like a cat. as he declares. and he began to nod. like a friendly Indian. as he sat thus with his eyes half open. through deepest snows and most dismal tempests. for nowhere has it freer play. spreading his wings to unexpected breadth. through which I floundered. and some hardier bird occasionally awaited the return of spring. At length. I heard the cronching of the snow made by the step of a long-headed farmer. and when he launched himself off and flapped through the pines. who at one time came through the village. There was only a narrow slit left between their lids. when the contents of the broad open fields were all piled up between the walls of the Walden road. when his day comes. but nothing can deter a poet. even in midwinter. through snow and rain and darkness. prompting God and disgracing man. But though comparatively disregarded now. with his sensitive pinions. These he peddles still. I think that he must be the man of the most faith of any alive. and not a rabbit's track. and found his pile of whittlings on the hearth. making amends then to Walden vale for the long silences. Who can predict his comings and goings? His business calls him out at all hours.

I took this course when I went to lecture in Lincoln in the evening. and the mother-o'-pearl flocks which sometimes form and dissolve there. a colony of muskrats dwelt. or in misty weather loomed like fabulous creatures. and the old settler I have spoken of -. The Lincoln hills rose up around me at the extremity of a snowy plain. almost the only friend of human progress. The Vishnu Purana says. and raised their cabins high above the ice. in which I did not remember to have stood before. There was one other with whom I had "solid seasons. the same yesterday and tomorrow. which lay in my way. far from the village street. An Old Mortality. nor feared any angler on the bank. that the fishes of thought were not scared from the stream. There too. Of yore we had sauntered and talked. insane. When I crossed Flint's Pond. and the fishermen. Having each some shingles of thought well dried. -. Winter Animals When the ponds were firmly frozen. but I had no more for society there. after it was covered with snow. freeborn. was my yard where I could walk freely when the snow was nearly two feet deep on a level elsewhere and the villagers were confined to their streets. and effectually put the world behind us." I often performed this duty of hospitality. In Goose Pond. overhung by oak woods and solemn pines bent down with snow or bristling with icicles. There. they afforded not only new and shorter routes to many points. it seemed that the heavens and the earth had met together. "The house-holder is to remain at eventide in his courtyard as long as it takes to milk a cow. and entertains the thought of all. or Esquimaux. I should not dare to say how many pounds' weight there was above the atmospheric pressure on every circular inch.but I had enough of that kind of oakum already picked. though I had often paddled about and skated over it. I do not see how he can ever die. and scholars. but not for his beast. passed for sealers. and admiring the clear yellowish grain of the pumpkin pine. waited long enough to milk a whole herd of cows. There we worked. where philosophers of all nations might put up. Enter ye that have leisure and a quiet mind. or longer if he pleases. being like the rest usually bare of snow. . moving slowly about with their wolfish dogs." long to be remembered. Whichever way we turned. at his house in the village. but came and went grandly. rounding a fable here and there. beggars. we sat and whittled them. Nature cannot spare him. trying our knives. travelling in no road and passing no house between my own hut and the lecture room. and I did not know whether they were giants or pygmies. hermit and philosopher. We waded so gently and reverently. or with only shallow and interrupted drifts on it. but new views from their surfaces of the familiar landscape around them. or we pulled together so smoothly. and building castles in the air for which earth offered no worthy foundation. and except at very long intervals. for he was pledged to no institution in it. "Entertainment for man. With his hospitable intellect he embraces children. Walden." He is perhaps the sanest man and has the fewest crotchets of any I chance to know. revising mythology. with unwearied patience and faith making plain the image engraven in men's bodies. whose fittest roof is the overarching sky which reflects his serenity. I sometimes expected the Visitor who never comes. the God of whom they are but defaced and leaning monuments. like the clouds which float through the western sky.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor "How blind that cannot see serenity!" 108 A true friend of man. at an indeterminable distance over the ice. A blue-robed man. ingenuus. Ah! such discourse we had. though none could be seen abroad when I crossed it. but did not see the man approaching from the town. Great Looker! Great Expecter! to converse with whom was a New England Night's Entertainment.it expanded and racked my little house. adding to it commonly some breadth and elegance. who earnestly seek the right road. it was so unexpectedly wide and so strange that I could think of nothing but Baffin's Bay. from the jingle of sleigh-bells. to await the arrival of a guest. as in a vast moose-yard well trodden. since he enhanced the beauty of the landscape. and on his sign should be printed. and who looked in upon me from time to time. I think that he should keep a caravansary on the world's highway.we three -. I slid and skated. it opened its seams so that they had to be calked with much dulness thereafter to stop the consequent leak. as everywhere. say rather an Immortality.

in moonlight nights. and quite familiar to me at last. where he looked me in the face. Suddenly an unmistakable cat-owl from very near me. before you could say Jack Robinson. though I never saw the bird while it was making it. the very lingua vernacula of Walden Wood. there were in it the elements of a concord such as these plains never saw nor heard. I was startled by the loud honking of a goose. were troubled with flatulency and had dreams. till at length he grew more dainty still and played with his food. Sometimes I heard the foxes as they ranged over the snow-crust. seemingly deterred from settling by my light. but never getting on more than half a rod at a time. barked a vulpine curse at me. In the course of the winter I threw out half a bushel of ears of sweet corn. All day long the red squirrels came and went. coursing over the roof and up and down the sides of the house. and was amused by watching the motions of the various animals which were baited by it. and boo-hoo him out of Concord horizon. which had not got ripe. even in the most solitary recesses of the forest. as if all the eyes in the universe were eyed on him -. if you had a discriminating ear. with a mind not made up whether to get it again. when he would look over at it with a ludicrous expression of uncertainty. before the pond froze over. which was held balanced over the stick by one paw. They passed over the pond toward Fair Haven. attracted by my light. hoo only. One night in the beginning of winter. as if sent out of the woods for this purpose. At length he would reach the corn. such a sound as the frozen earth would yield if struck with a suitable plectrum.I never saw one walk -. he would be in the top of a young pitch pine.wasting more time in delay and circumspection than would have sufficed to walk the whole distance -. or seeking expression. and there sit for hours. nibbling at first voraciously and throwing the half-naked cobs about. may there not be a civilization going on among brutes as well as men? They seemed to me to be rudimental. in search of a partridge or other game. running over the snow-crust by fits and starts like a leaf blown by the wind. still standing on their defence. and now as many paces that way. awaiting their transformation. heard the sound of their wings like a tempest in the woods as they flew low over my house. frisk about in the same uncertain trigonometrical way to the topmost stick of my wood-pile. And yet. responded at regular intervals to the goose. Sometimes one came near to my window. In the twilight and the night the rabbits came regularly and made a hearty meal. my great bed-fellow in that part of Concord. as if laboring with some anxiety. slipped from his careless grasp and fell to the ground. I seldom opened my door in a winter evening without hearing it.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 109 For sounds in winter nights. supplying himself with a new ear from time to time. boo-hoo. tasting only the inside of the kernel. or sometimes hoo. and then retreated. for if we take the ages into our account. boo-hoo! It was one of the most thrilling discords I ever heard. and. and the ear. and in the morning would find a crack in the earth a quarter of a mile long and a third of an inch wide. struggling for light and to be dogs outright and run freely in the streets. soliloquizing and talking to all the universe at the same time -. I also heard the whooping of the ice in the pond. and then suddenly pausing with a ludicrous expression and a gratuitous somerset. as if determined to expose and disgrace this intruder from Hudson's Bay by exhibiting a greater compass and volume of voice in a native. with the most harsh and tremendous voice I ever heard from any inhabitant of the woods. One would approach at first warily through the shrub oaks. then listening to hear what was in the wind. and the first three syllables accented somewhat like how der do. burrowing men. about nine o'clock. now a few paces this way. So the little impudent fellow would . with wonderful speed and waste of energy. Hoo hoo hoo. and afforded me much entertainment by their manoeuvres.for no reason that I could ever detect. as if suspecting that it had life. making inconceivable haste with his "trotters. hoo.for all the motions of a squirrel. on to the snow-crust by my door. barking raggedly and demoniacally like forest dogs. winding up his clock and chiding all imaginary spectators. and that I have not got lungs and a larynx as well as yourself? Boo-hoo. hoorer. or he himself was aware of. sounded sonorously. and often in winter days. or be off. I suspect. as if some one had driven a team against my door. now thinking of corn. their commodore honking all the while with a regular beat. or a new one." as if it were for a wager. or I was waked by the cracking of the ground by the frost. Usually the red squirrel (Sciurus Hudsonius) waked me in the dawn. What do you mean by alarming the citadel at this time of night consecrated to me? Do you think I am ever caught napping at such an hour. before my window. and selecting a suitable ear. stepping to the door. as if it were restless in its bed and would fain turn over.and then suddenly. imply spectators as much as those of a dancing girl -. I heard the forlorn but melodious note of a hooting owl indefinitely far.

or in short winter afternoons. run part way across. I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment while I was hoeing in a village garden. but. perhaps carry it to the top of a pine tree forty or fifty rods distant. and yet no fox bursts forth on to the open level of the pond. and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn. in spring-like days. being determined to put it through at any rate. like the tinkling of icicles in the grass. proving that man was in the rear. and I had not much respect for them. placing them under their claws. or if be would run in a straight line away no foxhound could overtake him. and the distant orchards next the woods suffer thus not a little.and so he would get off with it to where he lived. they attempt to swallow in their haste a kernel which is too big for their throats and chokes them. jarring the snow from the dry leaves and twigs on high. when that was the nearest way. when the snow was melted on my south hillside and about my wood-pile. though at first shy. making its fall a diagonal between a perpendicular and horizontal. as they were warily making their approach an eighth of a mile off. went to work as if they were taking what was their own. and circle round my house. Ere long the hounds arrived. They were manifestly thieves. nor following pack pursuing their Actaeon. and then return to the same shore. or else with sprightly day day day. and yelp and hound without regarding me. -. Sometimes. a wiry summery phe-be from the woodside. however. They tell me that if the fox would remain in the bosom of the frozen earth he would be safe. The squirrels also grew at last to be quite familiar. he would set out with it to the woods. which comes sifting down in the sunbeams like golden dust. and pick up the kernels which the squirrels have dropped. and in a stealthy and sneaking manner they flit from tree to tree. A little flock of these titmice came daily to pick a dinner out of my woodpile. The woods ring again.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 110 waste many an ear in a forenoon. the partridges came out of the woods morning and evening to feed there. At length the jays arrive. It is Nature's own bird which lives on buds and diet drink. but the squirrels. till they were sufficiently reduced for their slender throats. Sometimes a pack hunting by themselves would pass my door. whose discordant screams were heard long before. I sometimes heard a pack of hounds threading all the woods with hounding cry and yelp. scratching along with it as if it were too heavy for him and falling all the while. and pecked at the sticks without fear. and. and after great labor they disgorge it. having left his pursuers far behind. and again near the end of winter. he will run upon a wall many rods. flew to the nearest twig and. seeking their inn. like a tiger with a buffalo. Thus they circle until they fall upon . as if afflicted by a species of madness. he stops to rest and listen till they come up. They were so familiar that at length one alighted on an armful of wood which I was carrying in. where it remains concealed for a day or two. -. considerably bigger than himself. nearer and nearer. where they had come out of the woods at sunset to "bud" the wild apple trees. so that nothing could divert them from the pursuit. or more rarely. at any rate. seizing some longer and plumper one. and he appears to know that water will not retain his scent. where the cunning sportsman lies in wait for them. I am glad that the partridge gets fed. till at last. for this brave bird is not to be scared by winter. with faint flitting lisping notes. or the crumbs at my door. but here they lost the scent. where the hunters await him. by the same zig-zag course and frequent pauses. it is said. When the ground was not yet quite covered. They will come regularly every evening to particular trees. "sometimes plunges from on wing into the soft snow. and the note of the hunting-horn at intervals. as if it were an insect in the bark. hammered away at them with their little bills. In dark winter mornings. and then leap off far to one side. Then. Whichever side you walk in the woods the partridge bursts away on whirring wings. picking up the crumbs the squirrels had dropped. and when he runs he circles round to his old haunts." I used to start them in the open land also. And perhaps at evening I see the hunters returning with a single brush trailing from their sleigh for a trophy. and occasionally stepped upon my shoe. unable to resist the instinct of the chase. Meanwhile also came the chickadees in flocks. and I would afterwards find the cobs strewn about the woods in various directions. and skilfully balancing it. sitting on a pitch pine bough. It is frequently covered up by drifts. and spend an hour in the endeavor to crack it by repeated blows with their bills. which. A hunter told me that he once saw a fox pursued by hounds burst out on to Walden when the ice was covered with shallow puddles.a singularly frivolous and whimsical fellow.

with his back to the hunter. leaping upon a rock amid the woods. when suddenly the fox appeared. but found a man. and at such times looked in upon me. Still on they came. for Stratton was a sergeant in the old French war. town-clerk. leaving his pursuers far behind. that he had seen a moose there. and whang! -. like their mother. if my memory serves me. lay dead on the ground. Credit is given for deerskins also.a Norwegian winter for them. and stand silent amid the bushes till I had passed. Late in the afternoon.the fox. At midnight. and exchange their skins for rum in Concord village. "John Melven Cr. which had been gnawed by mice the previous winter -. I remember well one gaunt Nimrod who would catch up a leaf by the roadside and play a strain on it wilder and more melodious. and as quick as thought leaped the other wall out of the road. she suddenly ceased her hounding as if struck dumb with amazement. a wild-cat. and walked round and round him in silence. rolling over the rock. There were scores of pitch pines around my house. and disappeared again in the woods. but the next day learned that they had crossed the river and put up at a farmhouse for the night. who was also a captain. 18th. and they were daily sold. so sweet to a hunter's ear. That evening a Weston squire came to the Concord hunter's cottage to inquire for his hounds. for every time I attempted to answer his questions he interrupted me by asking. For a long time he stood still and listened to their music. for a wise hound will forsake everything else for this. and as quick as thought can follow thought his piece was levelled. The hunter still kept his place and listened to the hounds. and they were obliged to mix a large proportion of pine bark with their other diet. He did not find his hounds that night. hunting on their own account. than any hunting-horn. and one by one her pups arrived. and his swift bullet had not touched him.which my informant used to borrow. and ran directly to the rock. which would skulk out of my way. I sometimes met with hounds in my path prowling about the woods. but the other declined it and departed. but that was a short-lived mood. and as he walked the Wayland road he heard the cry of hounds approaching. and. "What do you do here?" He had lost a dog. These trees were alive and apparently flourishing at midsummer. and in his ledger. and now the near woods resounded through all their aisles with their demoniac cry. they took their departure early in the morning. and many of them had . The hunters were formerly a numerous and merry crew here. but. Nutting had a famous foxhound named Burgoyne -. One day a man came to my hut from Lexington to inquire after his hound that made a large track.he pronounced it Bugine -. who used to hunt bears on Fair Haven Ledges. 7th. But I fear that he was not the wiser for all I told him. and snapping the air as if possessed. I find the following entry. he heard the voice of the hounds far over toward Fair Haven still pursuing the fox. and ere long a fox leaped the wall into the road. They waited in silence while he skinned the fox. One old hunter who has a dry tongue. for the snow lay long and deep. The hunter who told me this could remember one Sam Nutting.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 111 the recent trail of a fox. were sobered into silence by the mystery. threading the solemn aisles with an easy coursing pace. when there was a moon. keeping the round. swift and still. who used to come to bathe in Walden once every year when the water was warmest. and representative. and at length turned off into the woods again. and told how for a week they had been hunting on their own account from Weston woods. and the mystery was solved. Jan. by 1 Grey Fox 0--2--3". Feb. whence. told me that many years ago he took his gun one afternoon and went out for a cruise in Walden Wood. of course. In the "Wast Book" of an old trader of this town. as if afraid. they are not now found here. spying the dead fox. Then the hunter came forward and stood in their midst. The Concord hunter told him what he knew and offered him the skin. Some way behind came an old hound and her three pups in full pursuit. and another has told me the particulars of the hunt in which his uncle was engaged. from one to four inches in diameter. At length the old hound burst into view with muzzle to the ground. and. Squirrels and wild mice disputed for my store of nuts. Hezekiah Stratton has credit "by 1/2 a Catt skin 0--1--4+". One man still preserves the horns of the last deer that was killed in this vicinity. their hounding cry which made all the woods ring sounding nearer and nearer. and had been hunting for a week by himself. 1742-3. For a moment compassion restrained the latter's arm. even. as he was resting in the thick woods south of Walden. now from Well Meadow. then followed the brush a while. whose sound was concealed by a sympathetic rustle of the leaves. having been well fed. and on they came. and would not have got credit for hunting less noble game. 1743. now from the Baker Farm. he sat erect and listening. who told him.

The hares (Lepus Americanus) were very familiar. the sprouts and bushes which spring up afford them concealment. and then a foot of ice. like true natives of the soil. Not without reason was its slenderness. It is remarkable that a single mouse should thus be allowed a whole pine tree for its dinner. She has long ago taken her resolution. seemed to say. which extends from earth even into the plains of the ether. becomes solid to the depth of a foot or a foot and a half. off they would go with a squeak and a bounce. and perchance the snow covers it to an equal depth. light-foot. levipes. but after another winter such were without exception dead. and lo. there a perennial waveless serenity reigns as in the amber twilight sky. and they become more numerous than ever. though completely girdled. (Lepus. lean and bony. and reflected every light and shadow. Sometimes in the twilight I alternately lost and recovered sight of one sitting motionless under my window. as what -. almost dropsical. The night veils without doubt a part of this glorious creation. and soon put the forest between me and itself -. but day comes to reveal to us this great work. striking her head against the floor timbers in her hurry. and she startled me each morning by her hasty departure when I began to stir -thump. If the forest is cut off. scant tail and slender paws. and it is not to be distinguished from any level field. in whom all creatures live. and were so nearly the color of the ground that they could hardly be distinguished when still. nearest allied to leaves and to the ground -.how -. with ragged ears and sharp nose. First I take an axe and pail and go in search of water. it closes its eyelids and becomes dormant for three months or more. Such then was its nature.the wild free venison. ancient and venerable families known to antiquity as to modern times. but stood on her last toes. straightening its body and its limbs into graceful length. After a cold and snowy night it needed a divining-rod to find it. only a natural one. kneeling to drink. which was so sensitive to every breath. "O Prince. When I opened my door in the evening. Its large eyes appeared young and unhealthy. looking in at my broad windows with serene and satisfied face. to Nature and daylight. as much to be expected as rustling leaves. gnawing round instead of up and down it. Near at hand they only excited my pity. The snow lying deep on the earth dotted with young pines. but perhaps it is necessary in order to thin these trees. some think. so that it will support the heaviest teams. separated from me only by the flooring. The partridge and the rabbit are still sure to thrive. and no question on her lips. Our woods teem with them both. if that be not a dream. It is hardly as if you had seen a wild creature when a rabbit or a partridge bursts away. a poor wee thing. beset with twiggy fences and horse-hair snares. at first trembling with fear. I look down into the quiet parlor of the fishes. It looked as if Nature no longer contained the breed of nobler bloods." Then to my morning work. That must be a poor country indeed that does not support a hare. which I had been endeavoring in vain to answer in my sleep. I awoke to an answered question. .when -. corresponding to the cool and even temperament of the inhabitants. and open a window under my feet. Every winter the liquid and trembling surface of the pond. The Pond in Winter After a still winter night I awoke with the impression that some question had been put to me. Heaven is under our feet is well as over our heads. our eyes contemplate with admiration and transmit to the soul the wonderful and varied spectacle of this universe. which are wont to grow up densely. which some cow-boy tends.where? But there was dawning Nature. thump. with its bright sanded floor the same as in summer. Standing on the snow-covered plain. and the very slope of the hill on which my house is placed.) What is a country without rabbits and partridges? They are among the most simple and indigenous animal products. yet unwilling to move. One had her form under my house all winter. it is either winged or it is legged. I cut my way first through a foot of snow. They used to come round my door at dusk to nibble the potato parings which I had thrown out. Like the marmots in the surrounding hills. whatever revolutions occur. of the very hue and substance of Nature. where. pervaded by a softened light as through a window of ground glass. away it scud with an elastic spring over the snow-crust. asserting its vigor and the dignity of Nature. One evening one sat by my door two paces from me. as if in a pasture amid the hills. and around every swamp may be seen the partridge or rabbit walk. thump.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 112 grown a foot.and to one another. I took a step. Forward! Nature puts no question and answers none which we mortals ask.

I never chanced to see its kind in any market. and by their goings and comings stitch towns together in parts where else they would be ripped. to which may be added the five feet which . the animalized nuclei or crystals of the Walden water. pray. As I was desirous to recover the long lost bottom of Walden Pond. nor gray like the stones. How. They never consulted with books. though at an unusual. it would be the cynosure of all eyes there. this great gold and emerald fish swims. with a few convulsive quirks. and so he caught them. like a mortal translated before his time to the thin air of heaven. himself a subject for the naturalist. as if they were the pearls. But I can assure my readers that Walden has a reasonably tight bottom at a not unreasonable. and so all the chinks in the scale of being are filled. depth. looking down through the illusive medium. wild men. nor blue like the sky. When I strolled around the pond in misty weather I was sometimes amused by the primitive mode which some ruder fisherman had adopted. It is remarkable how long men will believe in the bottomlessness of a pond without taking the trouble to sound it. The greatest depth was exactly one hundred and two feet. I surveyed it carefully. as if they were fabulous fishes. a foot or more above the ice. the undoubted source of the Styx and entrance to the Infernal Regions from these parts. have passed the slack line over a twig of the alder. I have visited two such Bottomless Ponds in one walk in this neighborhood. of course. These alders loomed through the mist at regular intervals as you walked half way round the pond. You look into his pail with wonder as into a summer pond. did he get these in midwinter? Oh. early in '46. being pulled down. are themselves small Waldens in the animal kingdom. Ah. making a little hole to admit the water. would show when he had a bite. Some who have lain flat on the ice for a long time. if possible. but they have. Here is one fishing for pickerel with grown perch for bait. perchance with watery eyes into the bargain. who instinctively follow other fashions and trust other authorities than their townsmen. they are so foreign to the streets. Waldenses. before the ice broke up. and tied a dry oak leaf to it. they give up their watery ghosts. to my eyes. and know and can tell much less than they have done. even to the woods. They possess a quite dazzling and transcendent beauty which separates them by a wide interval from the cadaverous cod and haddock whose fame is trumpeted in our streets." if there were anybody to drive it.that in this deep and capacious spring. Such a man has some right to fish. far beneath the rattling teams and chaises and tinkling sleighs that travel the Walden road. which were four or five rods apart and an equal distance from the shore. There have been many stories told about the bottom. and I love to see nature carried out in him. Many have believed that Walden reached quite through to the other side of the globe. or in the well which the fisherman cuts in the ice. and the fisher-man swallows the pickerel. and having fastened the end of the line to a stick to prevent its being pulled through. or rather no bottom. and let down their fine lines through the snowy field to take pickerel and perch. His life itself passes deeper in nature than the studies of the naturalist penetrate. for while the "fifty-six" was resting by the way. They. He would perhaps have placed alder branches over the narrow holes in the ice. are Walden all over and all through. which certainly had no foundation for themselves. They sit and eat their luncheon in stout fear-naughts on the dry oak leaves on the shore. and moss and bark fly far and wide. I fathomed it easily with a cod-line and a stone weighing about a pound and a half.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 113 Early in the morning. They are not green like the pines. men come with fishing-reels and slender lunch. The latter raises the moss and bark gently with his knife in search of insects. The perch swallows the grub-worm. of this pond. but yet have failed to find any bottom. or knew where she had retreated. foreign as Arabia to our Concord life. Easily. as wise in natural lore as the citizen is in artificial. they were paying out the rope in the vain attempt to fathom their truly immeasurable capacity for marvellousness. the pickerel swallows the perch. and driven to hasty conclusions by the fear of catching cold in their breasts. like flowers and precious stones. have seen vast holes "into which a load of hay might be driven. and could tell accurately when the stone left the bottom. the former lays open logs to their core with his axe. by having to pull so much harder before the water got underneath to help me. with compass and chain and sounding line. which. while all things are crisp with frost. Others have gone down from the village with a "fifty-six" and a wagon load of inch rope. He gets his living by barking trees. yet rarer colors. he got worms out of rotten logs since the ground froze. the pickerel of Walden! when I see them lying on the ice. as if he kept summer locked up at home. It is surprising that they are caught here -. The things which they practice are said not yet to be known. I am always surprised by their rare beauty.

I could calculate the variation for each one hundred feet in any direction beforehand within three or four inches. which is so unusually deep for its area. and put down the soundings. who is so admirable in all that relates to landscapes. which. So much for the increased horrors of the chasm of Loch Fyne when emptied. and plain shoal. In one instance. hearing what depth I had found. I laid a rule on the map lengthwise. This is a remarkable depth for so small an area. to my surprise. A factory-owner. that the line of greatest length intersected the line of greatest breadth exactly at the point of greatest depth. for this one. if drained. While men believe in the infinite some ponds will be thought to be bottomless. When I had mapped the pond by the scale of ten rods to an inch. The amount of it is. would not leave very remarkable valleys. in Scotland. In the deepest part there are several acres more level than almost any field which is exposed to the sun. appears in a vertical section through its centre not deeper than a shallow plate. and plow. as they who work on the highways know. or whatever convulsion of nature occasioned it. The regularity of the bottom and its conformity to the shores and the range of the neighboring hills were so perfect that a distant promontory betrayed itself in the soundings quite across the pond. No doubt many a smiling valley with its stretching cornfields occupies exactly such a "horrid chasm. surrounded by mountains. I observed this remarkable coincidence. and I said to myself. sixty or seventy fathoms deep." and about fifty miles long. four miles in breadth. more than a hundred in all. and its direction could be determined by observing the opposite shore. we apply these proportions to Walden. William Gilpin. the depth of the ocean will be found to be very inconsiderable compared with its breadth. observes." from which the waters have receded. dives deeper and soars higher than Nature goes. what a horrid chasm must it have appeared! "So high as heaved the tumid hills. Most ponds. near the middle. So. As I sounded through the ice I could determine the shape of the bottom with greater accuracy than is possible in surveying harbors which do not freeze over. so low Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep. standing at the head of Loch Fyne. and no subsequent elevation of the plain have been necessary to conceal their history. using the shortest diameter of Loch Fyne. and the extreme length and breadth were got by measuring into the coves. But the deepest ponds are not so deep in proportion to their area as most suppose. for.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 114 it has risen since. but the effect of water under these circumstances is to level all inequalities. Having noticed that the number indicating the greatest depth was apparently in the centre of the map. Cape becomes bar. and found. Capacious bed of waters. Often an inquisitive eye may detect the shores of a primitive lake in the low horizon hills. it will appear four times as shallow. making one hundred and seven. and. which he describes as "a bay of salt water. sand would not lie at so steep an angle. and valley and gorge deep water and channel. the imagination give it the least license. They are not like cups between the hills. thought that it could not be true. Some are accustomed to speak of deep and dangerous holes even in quiet sandy ponds like this. and generally. But it is easiest. and then breadthwise. What if all ponds were shallow? Would it not react on the minds of men? I am thankful that this pond was made deep and pure for a symbol. "If we could have seen it immediately after the diluvian crash. appears already in a vertical section only like a shallow plate. would leave a meadow no more hollow than we frequently see. notwithstanding that the middle is so nearly level. though it requires the insight and the far sight of the geologist to convince the unsuspecting inhabitants of this fact. yet not an inch of it can be spared by the imagination. as we have seen. the outline of the pond far from regular. on a line arbitrarily chosen. and I was surprised at its general regularity. judging from his acquaintance with dams. emptied." But if. and usually so correct. Who knows but this hint would conduct to the deepest part of the ocean as well as of a pond or puddle? Is not this . the depth did not vary more than one foot in thirty rods. wind. before the waters gushed in. probably. to find the hollows by the puddles after a shower.

that which was at first but an inclination in the shore in which a thought was harbored becomes an individual lake. the ancient axes of elevation. are conversant only with the bights of the bays of poesy. and you have almost elements enough to make out a formula for all cases. and to form a basin or independent pond. so that the bay tended to be an expansion of water within the land not only horizontally but vertically. for the most part. sixty feet. would make the problem much more complicated. though absolutely but one form. In our bodies. also. which we have not detected. the length and breadth of the cove. for where the water flows into the pond it will probably be coldest in summer and warmest in winter. like this. which contains about forty-one acres. but their form. Every harbor on the sea-coast. laws. perhaps. has its bar at its entrance. at the deepest point in a pond. 115 Of five coves. When the ice-men were at work here in '46-7. is still more wonderful. Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us toward the sun in the system and the heart in man. Of course. If we knew all the laws of Nature. or the description of one actual phenomenon. Now we know only a few laws. or there is a subsidence of the waters. a mountain outline varies with every step. namely. or currents. or an island in the pond. to infer his depth and concealed bottom. with a thermometer and a line. or all which had been sounded. But a low and smooth shore proves him shallow on that side. each is our harbor for a season. by observing the outlines of a surface and the character of its shores alone. the direction of the two capes showing the course of the bar. At the advent of each individual into this life. I have not discovered any but rain and snow and evaporation. but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. nor any visible inlet or outlet. I made a plan of White Pond. we should need only one fact. such places may be found. to infer all the particular results at that point. size. and the character of the surrounding shore. they suggest a corresponding depth in him. not. a stream running through. but still on the line of greatest length. The deepest part was found to be within one hundred feet of this. still farther in the direction to which I had inclined. from salt to fresh. Even when cleft or bored through it is not comprehended in its entireness. we are such poor navigators that our thoughts. but really concurring. in which we are detained and partially land-locked. with this experience. The particular laws are as our points of view. as. In order to see how nearly I could guess. and was only one foot deeper. though perhaps. or steer for the public ports of entry. These inclinations are not whimsical usually. and direction are determined by the promontories of the shore. as the deepest. stand off and on upon a harborless coast. Our notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those instances which we detect. and no natural currents concur to individualize them. were observed to have a bar quite across their mouths and deeper water within. and where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character. whose peaks overshadow and are reflected in his bosom. Given. What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics. tides. regarded as the opposite of valleys? We know that a hill is not highest at its narrowest part. may we not suppose that such a bar has risen to the surface somewhere? It is true. an Achillean shore. or particular inclination. the water over the bar was deeper compared with that in the basin. to the traveller. and. so that it reaches to the surface.changes. a bold projecting brow falls off to and indicates a corresponding depth of thought. cut off from the ocean. then. and go into the dry docks of science. or a marsh. becomes a sweet sea. If he is surrounded by mountainous circumstances. but the harmony which results from a far greater number of seemingly conflicting. where two opposite capes approached each other and two opposite bays receded. and as the line of greatest breadth fell very near the line of least breadth. In proportion as the mouth of the cove was wider compared with its length. by any confusion or irregularity in Nature. dead sea. and it has an infinite number of profiles. As for the inlet or outlet of Walden. It is the law of average. but draws lines through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a man's particular daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets. Perhaps we need only to know how his shores trend and his adjacent country or circumstances. When this bar is gradually increased by storms.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor the rule also for the height of mountains. has no island in it. I ventured to mark a point a short distance from the latter line. and our result is vitiated. the . wherein the thought secures its own conditions -. where they merely refit for this world. three. of course. Also there is a bar across the entrance of our every cove.

I judged that they meant to skim the land. of Walden Pond in the midst of a hard winter. turf-knives. It is well known that a level cannot be used on ice. even pathetically. and snow and ice are thick and solid. also. While I was surveying. when observed by means of a level on land directed toward a graduated staff on the ice. I saw a double shadow of myself. produced by the channels worn by the water flowing from all sides to a centre. It was a small cavity under ten feet of water. to underlie the summer there. as the water ran in. One has suggested. as I understood. wanted to double his money. was three quarters of an inch. saws. which wore away the ice on every side. When I began to cut holes for sounding there were three or four inches of water on the ice under a deep snow which had sunk it thus far. when the ice was covered with shallow puddles. with a peculiar jerk. ay.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 116 cakes sent to the shore were one day rejected by those who were stacking them up there. such as is not described in the New-England Farmer or the Cultivator. it is drawn through the streets. clean down to the sand. Who knows but if our instruments were delicate enough we might detect an undulation in the crust of the earth? When two legs of my level were on the shore and the third on the ice.sleds. It looks like solidified azure.indeed all the terra firma there was -. They said that a gentleman farmer. and each man was armed with a double-pointed pike-staff. and contributed essentially." through which the pond leaked out under a hill into a neighboring meadow. This was somewhat like cutting a hole in the bottom of a ship to let the water out. It was probably greater in the middle. spades. They went to work at once. and the cutters thus discovered that the ice over a small space was two or three inches thinner than elsewhere. thinking the soil was deep and had lain fallow long enough. and then putting a strainer over the spring in the meadow.for it was a very springy soil -. which would catch some of the particles carried through by the current. the skin itself. While yet it is cold January. shaped somewhat like a spider's web. as. He cuts and saws the solid pond. that if such a "leach-hole" should be found. the prudent landlord comes from the village to get ice to cool his summer drink. as if they were bent on making this a model farm. who was behind the scenes. to dry the surface of the pond. if any existed. not being thick enough to lie side by side with the rest. and the sights were directed over the latter. rolling. Sometimes. I standing underneath. and continued to run for two days in deep streams. They also showed me in another place what they thought was a "leach-hole. far off. undulated under a slight wind like water. In the winter of '46-7 there came a hundred men of Hyperborean extraction swoop down on to our pond one morning. I did not know whether they had come to sow a crop of winter rye. its connection with the meadow. plows.wearing a thick coat and mittens! when so many things are not provided for. if not mainly. one on the ice. in admirable order. but the water began immediately to run into these holes. As I saw no manure. and then I guessed that they must be cutting peat in a bog. a rise or fall of the ice of an almost infinitesimal amount made a difference of several feet on a tree across the pond. with many carloads of ungainly-looking farming tools -. and when I went among them they were wont to invite me to saw pit-fashion with them. rakes. unroofs the house of fishes. At one rod from the shore its greatest fluctuation. to wintry cellars. full of jest and sport. and carts off their very element and air. might be proved by conveying some. what you may call ice rosettes. pushing me out on a cake of ice to see it. drill-barrows. plowing. These ice-cutters are a merry race. which. and finally a new freezing forms a fresh smooth ice over all. impressively. for. as I had done. but when I was looking sharp to see what kind of seed they dropped into the furrow. to foresee the heat and thirst of July now in January -. through the favoring winter air. amounted to half a million already. it is beautifully mottled internally by dark figures. he took off the only coat. colored powder or sawdust to the mouth of the hole. one standing on the head of the other. with a peculiar . furrowing. a gang of fellows by my side suddenly began to hook up the virgin mould itself. which was sixteen inches thick.and haul it away on sleds. the other on the trees or hillside. but in order to cover each one of his dollars with another. held fast by chains and stakes like corded wood. or rather the water -. When such holes freeze. wise. or some other kind of grain recently introduced from Iceland. and a rain succeeds. though the ice appeared firmly attached to the shore. the ice. which made them think that there was an inlet there. it raised and floated the ice. So they came and went every day. but I think that I can warrant the pond not to need soldering till they find a worse leak than that. barrowing. It may be that he lays up no treasures in this world which will cool his summer drink in the next.

the abode of Winter. with teams and horses and apparently all the implements of farming. such a picture as we see on the first page of the almanac. though never so cold. built of azure-tinted marble. it never got to market. This heap. and acknowledged that there was some virtue in a stove. putting hay between the outside layers to exclude the air. beholding his form reflected in the waves. They calculated that not twenty-five per cent of this would reach its destination. a still greater part of this heap had a different destiny from what was intended.his shanty. and raised by grappling irons and block and tackle. but the next day will have frozen blue. or for some other reason. or a plow got set in the furrow and had to be cut out. either because the ice was found not to keep so well as was expected. like a flock of arctic snow-birds. At first it looked like a vast blue fort or Valhalla. and though it was unroofed the following July.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 117 shriek from the locomotive. and was not quite melted till September. Sometimes one of those great cakes slips from the ice-man's sled into the village street. 1848. it stood over that summer and the next winter. slipped through a crack in the ground down toward Tartarus. and now they are all gone. Perhaps I shall hear a solitary loon laugh as he dives and plumes himself. in the winter. and sending up its evaporations in solitude. or shall see a lonely fisher in his boat. So the hollows about this pond will. that old man we see in the almanac -. and the like. Thus the pond recovered the greater part. To speak literally. and was glad to take refuge in my house. like a floating leaf. which was the yield of about one acre. but when they began to tuck the coarse meadow hay into the crevices. and lies there for a week like a great emerald. when frozen. came from Cambridge every day to get out the ice. a hundred Irishmen. as it seemed to me. a quarter of a mile off. Like the water. being sledded to the shore. with Yankee overseers. and there placed evenly side by side. was finally covered with hay and boards. made in the winter of '46-7 and estimated to contain ten thousand tons. However. and a hired man. containing more air than usual. and that two or three per cent would be wasted in the cars. worked by horses. or the merely greenish ice of some ponds. Thus it appears that the sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans. almost gave up his animal heat. the rest remaining exposed to the sun. as on terra firma. on to a stack. finds a passage through. Perhaps the blue color of water and ice is due to the light and air they contain. and he who was so brave before suddenly became but the ninth part of a man. probably. I have noticed that a portion of Walden which in the state of water was green will often. and these. it will wear large cavities. leaving slight supports or studs only here and there. They stacked up the cakes thus in the open air in a pile thirty-five feet high on one side and six or seven rods square. for when the wind. walking behind his team. the Walden ice. of Madras and Bombay and . or sometimes the frozen soil took a piece of steel out of a plowshare. reflecting the clouds and the trees. for. and a part of it carried off. or the parable of the sower. But sometimes Squaw Walden had her revenge. and row upon row. and the horses invariably ate their oats out of cakes of ice hollowed out like buckets. and as often as I looked out I was reminded of the fable of the lark and the reapers. They divided it into cakes by methods too well known to require description. They told me that they had some in the ice-houses at Fresh Pond five years old which was as good as ever. I shall look from the same window on the pure sea-green Walden water there. but frozen remains sweet forever? It is commonly said that this is the difference between the affections and the intellect. They told me that in a good day they could get out a thousand tons. where lately a hundred men securely labored. by the passage of the sleds over the same track. sometimes. Why is it that a bucket of water soon becomes putrid. an object of interest to all passers. Thus for sixteen days I saw from my window a hundred men at work like busy husbandmen. and you can easily tell it from the white ice of the river. but at a distance is beautifully blue. seen near at hand. and no traces will appear that a man has ever stood there. were rapidly hauled off on to an ice platform. as surely as so many barrels of flour. as if he had a design to estivate with us. and finally topple it down. Deep ruts and "cradle-holes" were worn in the ice. it looked like a venerable moss-grown and hoary ruin. and this became covered with rime and icicles. and the most transparent is the bluest. and in thirty days more. as if they formed the solid base of an obelisk designed to pierce the clouds. has a green tint. appear from the same point of view blue. from and to some point of the polar regions. be filled with a greenish water somewhat like its own. Ice is an interesting subject for contemplation.

at 32+x. wears away the surrounding ice. and is landed in ports of which Alexander only heard the names. at a dozen rods from the shore. and the fact that a great proportion of it is comparatively shallow. than a little distance out. in the middle of Flint's Pond. which gave the ponds so severe a trial. and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. So. and so also warms the water and melts the under side of the ice. the same day. makes the periplus of Hanno. floating by Ternate and Tidore and the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Spring The opening of large tracts by the ice-cutters commonly causes a pond to break up earlier. I lay down the book and go to my well for water. the air cells are at right angles with what was the water surface. Where there is a rock or a log rising near to the surface the ice over it is much thinner. generally speaking. the morning and evening are the spring and fall. though it may not be made so warm after all. whatever may be its position. and is frequently quite dissolved by this reflected heat. every one who has waded about the shores of the pond in summer must have perceived how much warmer the water is close to the shore. where only three or four inches deep." that is. This difference of three and a half degrees between the temperature of the deep water and the shallow in the latter pond. melts in the tropic gales of the Indian seas. It indicates better than any water hereabouts the absolute progress of the season. and. though the cold air circulated underneath. and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial. The night is the winter. than near the bottom. but its heat passes through ice a foot or more thick. so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. But such was not the effect on Walden that year. not excepting that of '52-3. The day is an epitome of the year. and causing the air bubbles which it contains to extend themselves upward and downward until it is completely honeycombed. for she had soon got a thick new garment to take the place of the old. there will be a strip of rotten though thicker white ice. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master. show why it should break up so much sooner than Walden. beginning to melt on the north side and in the shallower parts where it began to freeze.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 118 Calcutta. near the shore at 33x. a rod or more wide. and is reflected from the bottom in shallow water. being least affected by transient changes of temperature. created by this reflected heat. or freezing point. in shallow water. and on the surface where it is deep. also. Ice has its grain as well as wood. as I have said. a week or ten days later than Flint's Pond and Fair Haven. for the water. and leaves a hard dark or transparent ice on the middle. since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed. and every evening it is being cooled more rapidly until the morning. and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence. In spring the sun not only exerts an influence through the increased temperature of the air and earth. at the same time that it is melting it more directly above. The ice in the shallowest part was at this time several inches thinner than in the middle. even in cold weather. This pond never breaks up so soon as the others in this neighborhood. and the noon is the summer. the bubbles themselves within the ice operate as burning-glasses to melt the ice beneath. Also. It commonly opens about the first of April. while the temperature of Walden increases almost uninterruptedly. With favoring winds it is wafted past the site of the fabulous islands of Atlantis and the Hesperides. under ice a foot thick. Every morning. making it uneven. who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas. stood at 32x. agitated by the wind. 1847. and so had access to both sides. The phenomena of the year take place every day in a pond on a small scale. priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra. When a warm rain in the middle of the winter melts off the snow-ice from Walden. . on account both of its greater depth and its having no stream passing through it to melt or wear away the ice. at 36x. and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin. A thermometer thrust into the middle of Walden on the 6th of March. In midwinter the middle had been the warmest and the ice thinnest there. and I have been told that in the experiment at Cambridge to freeze water in a shallow wooden pond. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges. assume the appearance of honeycomb. A severe cold of a few days duration in March may very much retard the opening of the former ponds. or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. drink at my well. and at last disappears suddenly in a single spring rain. In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat-Geeta. the reflection of the sun from the bottom more than counterbalanced this advantage. about the shores. and when a cake begins to rot or "comb. I never knew it to open in the course of a winter. the shallow water is being warmed more rapidly than the deep.

seizing his gun. Who would have suspected so large and cold and thick-skinned a thing to be so sensitive? Yet it has its law to which it thunders obedience when it should as surely as the buds expand in the spring. but. to Fair Haven Pond. One year I went across the middle only five days before it disappeared entirely. it stretched itself and yawned like a waking man with a gradually increasing tumult. and probably fishes and muskrats could not then have been stunned by a blow on it. it had completely lost its resonance. The pond does not thunder every evening. which was kept up three or four hours. One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the Spring come in. when it felt the influence of the sun's rays slanted upon it from over the hills. for I thought that there were no secrets between them -. within. Every incident connected with the breaking up of the rivers and ponds and the settling of the weather is particularly interesting to us who live in a climate of so great extremes. and can hardly acquire more of natural lore if he should live to the age of Methuselah -. the 25th of March. so that you could put your foot through it when six inches thick. for large fires are no longer necessary. perhaps. or the striped squirrel's chirp. in '46. song sparrow. with a muddy bottom. the ice was still nearly a foot thick. The fishermen say that the "thundering of the pond" scares the fishes and prevents their biting. the middle was merely honeycombed and saturated with water. The earth is all alive and covered with papillae. It was a warm day. it does. and he had helped to lay her keel -. to await them. who has been a close observer of Nature. It took a short siesta at noon. where he lived. a sullen rush and roar. Not seeing any ducks. as if its icy fetters were rent from end to end.who has come to his growth. which seemed to him all at once like the sound of a vast body of fowl coming in to settle there. but though I may perceive no difference in the weather. and he dropped down without obstruction from Sudbury. in '53.that one spring day he took his gun and boat. which he found. after a warm rain followed by fog. The ice in the pond at length begins to be honeycombed. and he was surprised to see so great a body of ice remaining. after I had heard the bluebird. and he thought it likely that some would be along pretty soon. The pond began to boom about an hour after sunrise. and red-wing. but singularly grand and impressive. being full of cracks. and the air also being less elastic. that when I struck the ice with the head of my axe. I am on the alert for the first signs of spring. they who dwell near the river hear the ice crack at night with a startling whoop as loud as artillery. After he had lain still there about an hour he heard a low and seemingly very distant sound. the 18th of April. The largest pond is as sensitive to atmospheric changes as the globule of mercury in its tube. nor broken up and floated off as in rivers. it resounded like a gong for many rods around. in '54. One old man. The ice was melted for three or four rods from the shore. and seems as thoroughly wise in regard to all her operations as if she had been put upon the stocks when he was a boy. There was ice still on the meadows. in '47. gradually swelling and increasing as if it would have a universal and memorable ending. covered for the most part with a firm field of ice.and I was surprised to hear him express wonder at any of Nature's operations.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 119 The cracking and booming of the ice indicate a change of temperature. or see the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters. So the alligator comes out of the mud with quakings of the earth. the days have grown sensibly longer. as the sun was withdrawing his influence. and I cannot tell surely when to expect its thundering. or as if I had struck on a tight drum-head. it would have wholly disappeared. such as the ducks love. One pleasant morning after a cold night. and I see how I shall get through the winter without adding to my wood-pile. and thought that he would have a little sport with the ducks. In the right stage of the weather a pond fires its evening gun with great regularity. Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the snow. though it was completely melted for half a rod in width about the shore. 1850. the 23d of March. in '51. the 8th of April. In 1845 Walden was first completely open on the 1st of April. and boomed once more toward night. and. he hid his boat on the north or back side of an island in the pond. the 28th of March. and there was a smooth and warm sheet of water. When the warmer days come. and within a few days see it rapidly going out. but it was all gone out of the river. unlike anything he had ever heard. but by the next day evening. unexpectedly.told me -. As the weather grew warmer it was not sensibly worn away by the water. I noticed with surprise. But in the middle of the day. all gone off with the fog. about the 7th of April. and then concealed himself in the bushes on the south side. he started up in . On the 13th of March. having gone to Flint's Pond to spend the day. in '52. February 24th. for his stores must be now nearly exhausted. to hear the chance note of some arriving bird. spirited away. and I can set my heel in it as I walk.

double lobed). a phenomenon not very common on so large a scale. and the sun. cheered by the music of a thousand tinkling rills and rivulets whose veins are filled with the blood of winter which they are bearing off. When I see on the one side the inert bank -. and resembling. but he found.for the sun acts on one side first -. in the water itself. sporting on this bank. and many other words). globus. No wonder that the earth expresses itself outwardly in leaves. sometimes bursting out through the snow and overflowing it where no sand was to be seen before.and on the other this luxuriant foliage. and with excess of energy strewing his fresh designs about. the sand begins to flow down the slopes like lava. labor. flap. but at length heaving up and scattering its wrecks along the island to a considerable height before it came to a standstill. Even ice begins with delicate crystal leaves. the laciniated. smiles on a checkered landscape of russet and white smoking with incense. of leopard's paws or birds' feet. The atoms have already learned this law. to his surprise. which obeys half way the law of currents. lobed. till they form an almost flat sand. The material was sand of every degree of fineness and of various rich colors. When the frost comes out in the spring. I feel as if I were nearer to the vitals of the globe. till at length.at first gently nibbled and crumbled off. What makes this sand foliage remarkable is its springing into existence thus suddenly. is sometimes overlaid with a mass of this kind of foliage. for this sandy overflow is something such a foliaceous mass as the vitals of the animal body. with the liquid l behind it pressing it forward. jiais. and drifted in to the shore. also lap. it is a moist thick lobe. and excrements of all kinds. The feathers and wings of birds are still drier and thinner leaves. that the whole body of the ice had started while he lay there. and warm winds blow up mist and rain and melt the snowbanks. You find thus in the very sands an anticipation of the vegetable leaf. which is from twenty to forty feet high. to become a puzzle to future geologists. as if it had flowed into moulds which the fronds of waterplants have impressed on the watery mirror. and even in a thawing day in the winter. or B. a word especially applicable to the liver and lungs and the leaves of fat (jnai. Few phenomena gave me more delight than to observe the forms which thawing sand and clay assume in flowing down the sides of a deep cut on the railroad through which I passed on my way to the village. In globe. Internally. or you are reminded of coral. embracing the different iron colors. and the forms of vegetation are lost in the ripple marks on the bottom. you pass from the lumpish grub in the earth to the airy and fluttering butterfly. and half way that of vegetation. The various shades of the sand are singularly rich and agreeable. or any vegetable leaves. to flow or slip downward. whose forms and color we see imitated in bronze. a lapsing. The whole cut impressed me as if it were a cave with its stalactites laid open to the light. The very globe continually transcends and translates itself. also. As it flows it takes the forms of sappy leaves or vines. dispersing the mist. exhibiting a sort of hybrid product. vine. externally a dry thin leaf. for a quarter of a mile on one or both sides. ivy. even as the f and v are a pressed and dried b. making heaps of pulpy sprays a foot or more in depth. The whole tree . still variously and beautifully shaded. The whole bank. and reddish. under some circumstances. like those formed off the mouths of rivers. a sort of architectural foliage more ancient and typical than acanthus. it so labors with the idea inwardly. through which the traveller picks his way from islet to islet. running together as they are more moist. glb. they are converted into banks. whether in the globe or animal body. gray. chiccory. and the sound he had heard was made by its edge grating on the shore -. Thus. and imbricated thalluses of some lichens. the creation of an hour. the soft mass of the b (single lobed. the separate streams losing their semi-cylindrical form and gradually becoming more flat and broad. the guttural g adds to the meaning the capacity of the throat. The radicals of lobe are lb. Innumerable little streams overlap and interlace one with another. or sandy rupture.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 120 haste and excited. destined perhaps. commonly mixed with a little clay.had come to where he was still at work. of brains or lungs or bowels. and becomes winged in its orbit. When the flowing mass reaches the drain at the foot of the bank it spreads out flatter into strands. but in which you can trace the original forms of vegetation. lobe. as you look down on them. It is a truly grotesque vegetation. and are pregnant by it. globe. The overhanging leaf sees here its prototype. At length the sun's rays have attained the right angle. though the number of freshly exposed banks of the right material must have been greatly multiplied since railroads were invented. brown. yellowish. lapsus. I am affected as if in a peculiar sense I stood in the laboratory of the Artist who made the world and me -. the produce of one spring day.

And not only it. I know of nothing more purgative of winter fumes and indigestions. as if the globe were turned wrong side outward. When the ground was partially bare of snow. and rivers are still vaster leaves whose pulp is intervening earth. too. until at last with more heat and moisture. to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly. You may melt your metals and cast them into the most beautiful moulds you can. like the ball of the finger. Its throes will heave our exuviae from their graves. with its lobe or drop. The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history. If you look closely you observe that first there pushes forward from the thawing mass a stream of softened sand with a drop-like point. which precede flowers and fruit -. The cheeks are a slide from the brows into the valley of the face. and in the still finer soil and organic matter the fleshy fibre or cellular tissue. this is Spring. and more heat or other genial influences would have caused it to flow yet farther. What is man but a mass of thawing clay? The ball of the human finger is but a drop congealed. they will never excite me like the forms which this molten earth flows out into. using the best material its mass affords to form the sharp edges of its channel. You here see perchance how blood-vessels are formed. Each rounded lobe of the vegetable leaf. This is the frost coming out of the ground. stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book. Fresh curls spring from the baldest brow. pinweeds. is a thick and now loitering drop. and as many lobes as it has. but this suggests at least that Nature has some bowels. Thaw with his gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. not only on these banks. In the silicious matter which the water deposits is perhaps the bony system. lights. and stretches forth baby fingers on every side. It convinces me that Earth is still in her swaddling-clothes. as a lichen. Ere long. fancifully. but living poetry like the leaves of a tree. and there is no end to the heaps of liver. The lip -. Who knows what the human body would expand and flow out to under a more genial heaven? Is not the hand a spreading palm leaf with its lobes and veins? The ear may be regarded. What Champollion will decipher this hieroglyphic for us. True. from labor (?) -.life-everlasting. the most fluid portion. When the sun withdraws the sand ceases to flow. Such are the sources of rivers. The chin is a still larger drop. Thus it seemed that this one hillside illustrated the principle of all the operations of Nature. but on every hill and plain and in every hollow. as if their beauty was not ripe till . the lobes are the fingers of the leaf. separates from the latter and forms for itself a meandering channel or artery within that. compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic. It is wonderful how rapidly yet perfectly the sand organizes itself as it flows. but the institutions upon it are plastic like clay in the hands of the potter. The Maker of this earth but patented a leaf. but in the morning the streams will start once more and branch and branch again into a myriad of others. that we may turn over a new leaf at last? This phenomenon is more exhilarating to me than the luxuriance and fertility of vineyards. and graceful wild grasses. and there again is mother of humanity. but a living earth. in so many directions it tends to flow. umbilicaria.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 121 itself is but one leaf. more obvious and interesting frequently than in summer even. goldenrods. The fingers and toes flow to their extent from the thawing mass of the body. and seeks the sea with music. larger or smaller. the confluent dripping of the face.not a fossil earth. it is somewhat excrementitious in its character. and bowels. or migrates to other climes in clouds.laps or lapses from the sides of the cavernous mouth. feeling its way slowly and blindly downward. on the side of the head. The one melts. in which is seen a little silvery stream glancing like lightning from one stage of pulpy leaves or branches to another. the frost comes out of the ground like a dormant quadruped from its burrow.labium. and ever and anon swallowed up in the sand. opposed and diffused by the cheek bones. as the sun gets higher. the other but breaks in pieces. in its effort to obey the law to which the most inert also yields. and towns and cities are the ova of insects in their axils. These foliaceous heaps lie along the bank like the slag of a furnace. it was pleasant to compare the first tender signs of the infant year just peeping forth with the stately beauty of the withered vegetation which had withstood the winter -. There is nothing inorganic. and a few warm days had dried its surface somewhat. showing that Nature is "in full blast" within. as mythology precedes regular poetry. It precedes the green and flowery spring. The nose is a manifest congealed drop or stalactite.

and kept up the queerest chuckling and chirruping and vocal pirouetting and gurgling sounds that ever were heard. chronologies.a silvery sheen as from the scales of a leuciscus. It grows as steadily as the rill oozes out of the ground. and the ice dissolves apace in the ponds. methought. and is among the forms which art loves to copy. che char -. older than Greek or Egyptian. suddenly resumed their several characters. and when I stamped they only chirruped the louder. This at least is not the Turdus migratorius. O the evening robin. It is almost identical with that. looked brighter. I mean the twig. Many of the phenomena of Winter are suggestive of an inexpressible tenderness and fragile delicacy. as it were all one active fish. and more .decent weeds. and the mower draws from it betimes their winter supply. A great field of ice has cracked off from the main body. which widowed Nature wears. directly under my feet as I sat reading or writing. olit. but anon pushing on again. Walden was dead and is alive again. I hear a song sparrow singing from the bushes on the shore -. -.chickaree -. as if it spoke the joy of the fishes within it. two at a time. hard-hack. The sinking sound of melting snow is heard in all dells. those unexhausted granaries which entertain the earliest birds -. when the rills are dry. lifting its spear of last year's hay with the fresh life below. as if it had intelligence with some remote horizon. I heard a robin in the distance. It is an antique style. and other strong-stemmed plants. and from year to year the herds drink at this perennial green stream. The grass flames up on the hillsides like a spring fire -. from dark and sluggish hours to bright and elastic ones. it brings back the summer to our winter memories. Such is the contrast between winter and spring. So our human life but dies down to its root. But this spring it broke up more steadily. as I have said. cat-tails. At the approach of spring the red squirrels got under my house. whose note I shall not forget for many a thousand more -.as if the earth sent forth an inward heat to greet the returning sun. have the same relation to types already in the mind of man that astronomy has. wiss. and all written revelations? The brooks sing carols and glees to the spring. chip. and the red-wing. greener. We are accustomed to hear this king described as a rude and boisterous tyrant. though none was visible overhead. but with the gentleness of a lover he adorns the tresses of Summer. which had so long drooped. for in the growing days of June.chip. I am particularly attracted by the arching and sheaf-like top of the wool-grass. traditions. and which. checked indeed by the frost. wiss. The first sparrow of spring! The year beginning with younger hope than ever! The faint silvery warblings heard over the partially bare and moist fields from the bluebird. at least. The pitch pines and shrub oaks about my house.chickaree. as if past all fear and respect in their mad pranks. is already seeking the first slimy life that awakes. in the vegetable kingdom. even cotton-grass. and the clouds of winter still overhung it. olit -. the bare face of the pond full of glee and youth. streams from the sod into the summer. you don't -. and all watered or waved like a palace floor. defying humanity to stop them. but more regular! It is unusually hard.che wiss. the song sparrow. mulleins. owing to the recent severe but transient cold. like a long green ribbon. It is seemingly instantaneous at last. No. or failed to perceive their force."et primitus oritur herba imbribus primoribus evocata" -. They were wholly deaf to my arguments. and the eaves were dripping with sleety rain.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 122 then. There is a canal two rods wide along the northerly and westerly sides. The marsh hawk. at the end of a New England summer day! If I could ever find the twig he sits upon! I mean he. sailing low over the meadow. is a memorable crisis which all things proclaim. the first I had heard for many a thousand years. How handsome the great sweeping curves in the edge of the ice. meadow-sweet. not yellow but green is the color of its flame.the same sweet and powerful song as of yore. till it reaches the living surface beyond. But the wind slides eastward over its opaque surface in vain. and of the sands on its shore -. answering somewhat to those of the shore. Walden is melting apace. as if the last flakes of winter tinkled as they fell! What at such a time are histories. johnswort.olit. The change from storm and winter to serene and mild weather. reflecting a summer evening sky in its bosom. and lo! where yesterday was cold gray ice there lay the transparent pond already calm and full of hope as in a summer evening. and fell into a strain of invective that was irresistible. and still puts forth its green blade to eternity. chip. the grass-blade. though the evening was at hand. I looked out the window. Suddenly an influx of light filled my house. the grass-blades are their channels.the symbol of perpetual youth. It is glorious to behold this ribbon of water sparkling in the sun. and wider still at the east end. He too is helping to crack it.

In a pleasant spring morning all men's sins are forgiven. whether its winter is past or not. and the ridges placed under the morning rays. being recent and lately sundered from the high Ether. In almost all climes the tortoise and the frog are among the precursors and heralds of this season. A "plump" of ducks rose at the same time and took the route to the north in the wake of their noisier cousins. As every season seems best to us in its turn. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. at your very wood-pile. and indulging at last in unrestrained complaint and mutual consolation.. fifty rods off.. and with hushed clamor wheeled and settled in the pond. and plants spring and bloom. I knew that it would not rain any more. which we call doing our duty. so large and tumultuous that Walden appeared like an artificial pond for their amusement. I could bear the rush of their wings." A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener.. so the coming in of spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age. and in due time I heard the martins twittering over my clearing.. like a new-born instinct. they suddenly spied my light. You may tell by looking at any twig of the forest.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 123 erect and alive. seeking its companion. though it had not seemed that the township contained so many that it could afford me any.-"Eurus ad Auroram Nabathaeaque regna recessit. to correct this slight oscillation of the poles and preserve the equilibrium of nature. You see some innocent fair shoots preparing to burst from his gnarled rind and try another year's life. and despaired of the world. We loiter in winter while it is already spring. sailing in the middle of the pond. Persidaque. twenty-nine of them. groping clangor of some solitary goose in the foggy mornings. and see how it is exhausted and debauched veins expand with still joy and bless the new day. Even he has entered into the joy of his Lord. . blindly and ineffectually perhaps. Standing at my door. and passed my first spring night in the woods. and winds blow. Such a day is a truce to vice." "The East-Wind withdrew to Aurora and the Nabathean kingdom. For a week I heard the circling. Or the earth. ay. when. In April the pigeons were seen again flying express in small flocks. and birds fly with song and glancing plumage. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always. feel the spring influence with the innocence of infancy. And the Persian. the vilest sinner may return. but even a savor of holiness groping for expression. Man was born. and I fancied that they were peculiarly of the ancient race that dwelt in hollow trees ere white men came. and all his faults are forgotten. like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it. Through our own recovered innocence we discern the innocence of our neighbors. tender and fresh as the youngest plant.. trusting to break their fast in muddier pools. and for a short hour the south hill-side echoes to no vulgar jest. As it grew darker. There is not only an atmosphere of good will about him. recreating the world. or a sensualist. with a regular honk from the leader at intervals. I was startled by the honking of geese flying low over the woods. and took advantage of every accident that befell us. You may have known your neighbor yesterday for a thief. and still peopling the woods with the sound of a larger life than they could sustain. and merely pitied or despised him. driving toward my house. and then steered straight to Canada. retained some seeds of cognate heaven. In the morning I watched the geese from the door through the mist. like weary travellers getting in late from Southern lakes. and shut the door.. Why the jailer does not leave open his prison . and when they had got into rank circled about over my head. but the sun shines bright and warm this first spring morning. and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities. et radiis juga subdita matutinis. But when I stood on the shore they at once rose up with a great flapping of wings at the signal of their commander. So I came in. a drunkard. and you meet him at some serene work. While such a sun holds out to burn. Whether that Artificer of things. as if effectually cleansed and restored by the rain. The origin of a better world. made him from the divine seed.

I observed a very slight and graceful hawk. nor soar like the larger hawks. And mortals knew no shores but their own. where the muskrats lurk. .. which without any avenger Spontaneously without law cherished fidelity and rectitude. one approaches a little the primitive nature of man. "A return to goodness produced each day in the tranquil and beneficent breath of the morning. Not yet the pine felled on its mountains had descended To the liquid waves that it might see a foreign world. "After the germs of virtue have thus been prevented many times from developing themselves. like a nighthawk. nor did the suppliant crowd fear The words of their judge.. it seemed related to the earth but by an egg hatched some time in the crevice of a crag.sporting there alone -. its kindred.. showing the under side of its wings. when.. woven of the rainbow's trimmings and the sunset sky. then the beneficent breath of evening does not suffice to preserve them. turning over and over like a kite. but made all the earth lonely beneath it. and placid zephyrs with warm Blasts soothed the flowers born without seed. . I heard a singular rattling sound. standing on the quaking grass and willow roots.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 124 doors -. nor were threatening words read On suspended brass. nor accept the pardon which he freely offers to all. think that he has never possessed the innate faculty of reason. which gleamed like a satin ribbon in the sun." On the 29th of April.why the preacher does not dismiss his congregation! It is because they do not obey the hint which God gives them. As soon as the breath of evening does not suffice longer to preserve them.or was its native nest made in the angle of a cloud. but were safe without an avenger. but it sported with proud reliance in the fields of air. or like the pearly inside of a shell.why the judge does not dismis his case -. as the sprouts of the forest which has been felled. as I was fishing from the bank of the river near the Nine-Acre-Corner bridge. It was the most ethereal flight I had ever witnessed. The Merlin it seemed to me it might be called: but I care not for its name. It did not simply flutter like a butterfly. looking up. -. It was not lonely. causes that in respect to the love of virtue and the hatred of vice. In like manner the evil which one does in the interval of a day prevents the germs of virtues which began to spring up again from developing themselves and destroys them. There was eternal spring. It appeared to have no companion in the universe -. Where was the parent which hatched it. Punishment and fear were not. Men seeing the nature of this man like that of the brute. This sight reminded me of falconry and what nobleness and poetry are associated with that sport. it repeated its free and beautiful fall. and lined with some soft midsummer haze caught up from earth? Its eyry now some cliffy cloud. mounting again and again with its strange chuckle. alternately soaring like a ripple and tumbling a rod or two over and over. and its father in the heavens? The tenant of the air.and to need none but the morning and the ether with which it played.. Are those the true and natural sentiments of man?" "The Golden Age was first created.. as if it had never set its foot on terra firma. then the nature of man does not differ much from that of the brute. somewhat like that of the sticks which boys play with their fingers. and then recovering from its lofty tumbling.

he breaks his fast in Canada. as one rambles into higher and higher grass. the chewink. we must see how little account is to be made of it. but the assurance it gave me of the strong appetite and inviolable health of Nature was my compensation for this. maples. O Death. to some extent. and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need the tonic of wildness -. while she surveyed the premises. the oaks. which looked like a string of jewels. nor are any wounds fatal. Early in May. imparted a brightness like sunshine to the landscape. and some life pasturing freely where we never wander. The buckeye does not grow in New England. and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground. especially in cloudy days. Ah! I have penetrated to those meadows on the morning of many a first spring day. the sea-coast with its wrecks. The wild goose is more of a cosmopolite than we. to see if my house was cavern-like enough for her. and the second year was similar to it. here is not all the world. On the third or fourth of May I saw a loon in the pond. the wood pewee." And so the seasons went rolling on into summer. and other birds. and the mockingbird is rarely heard here. There was a dead horse in the hollow by the path to my house. bounds are henceforth set to our lives and our fates decided. vast and titanic features. when the wild river valley and the woods were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead. Its pleadings will not bear to be stereotyped. and plumes himself for the night in a southern bayou. jumping from hummock to hummock. takes a luncheon in the Ohio. and during the first week of the month I heard the whip-poor-will. The phoebe had already come once more and looked in at my door and window. We are cheered when we observe the vulture feeding on the carrion which disgusts and disheartens us. unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. I finally left Walden September 6th. and deriving health and strength from the repast. Even the bison. Compassion is a very untenable ground. where was thy victory. I had heard the wood thrush long before. sustaining herself on humming wings with clinched talons. as some suppose. forsooth. the thunder-cloud. then? Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. as if the sun were breaking through mists and shining faintly on the hillsides here and there. you cannot go to Tierra del . we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable. We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor. 1847. so that you could have collected a barrelful. where was thy sting? O Grave. to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest.to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk. The impression made on a wise man is that of universal innocence. It must be expeditious. Poison is not poisonous after all. The sulphur-like pollen of the pitch pine soon covered the pond and the stones and rotten wood along the shore. and tortoises and toads run over in the road. Thank Heaven. we read of "rills dyed yellow with the golden dust of the lotus. keeps pace with the seasons cropping the pastures of the Colorado only till a greener and sweeter grass awaits him by the Yellowstone. Even in Calidas' drama of Sacontala. Thus was my first year's life in the woods completed. All things must live in such a light. and hear the booming of the snipe. that tender organizations can be so serenely squashed out of existence like pulp -. the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things. the veery. as if she held by the air. which compelled me sometimes to go out of my way. and that sometimes it has rained flesh and blood! With the liability to accident. if they had been slumbering in their graves. from willow root to willow root. and stone walls piled up on our farms. We need to witness our own limits transgressed. Conclusion To the sick the doctors wisely recommend a change of air and scenery. If you are chosen town clerk. hickories. I love to see that Nature is so rife with life that myriads can be afforded to be sacrificed and suffered to prey on one another. especially in the night when the air was heavy. Yet we think that if rail fences are pulled down. This is the "sulphur showers" we bear of. and other trees. just putting out amidst the pine woods around the pond. There needs no stronger proof of immortality. that land and sea be infinitely wild.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 125 Beside this I got a rare mess of golden and silver and bright cupreous fishes.tadpoles which herons gobble up. the brown thrasher.

The other side of the globe is but the home of our correspondent. Yet some can be patriotic who have no self-respect. of your own streams and oceans.-"Direct your eye right inward. but I trust it would be nobler game to shoot one's self. the Lewis and Clark and Frobisher. but of thought. not of trade. Yet do this even till you can do better. I have more of God. They love the soil which makes their graves.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 126 Fuego this summer: but you may go to the land of infernal fire nevertheless. and you'll find A thousand regions in your mind Yet undiscovered. and you may perhaps find some "Symmes' Hole" by which to get at the inside at last." What does Africa -. plus habet ille viae. that his wife should be so earnest to find him? Does Mr. The universe is wider than our views of it. with all its parade and expense. Grinnell know where he himself is? Be rather the Mungo Park. though it is without doubt the direct way to India. when discovered. they more of the road. which does . but have no sympathy with the spirit which may still animate their clay. like curious passengers. Our voyaging is only great-circle sailing. and the doctors prescribe for diseases of the skin merely. or the Niger. If you would learn to speak all tongues and conform to the customs of all nations. and not make the voyage like stupid sailors picking oakum.with shiploads of preserved meats to support you. explore your own higher latitudes -. in a government ship. if you would travel farther than all travellers. that we would find? Are these the problems which most concern mankind? Is Franklin the only man who is lost. How long. and cause the Sphinx to dash her head against a stone. cowards that run away and enlist. than it is to explore the private sea. but an indirect recognition of the fact that there are continents and seas in the moral world to which every man is an isthmus or an inlet. and Explore thyself. but surely that is not the game he would be after. Spain and Portugal." Let them wander and scrutinize the outlandish Australians. Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve. but that it is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals. all front on this private sea. a hummock left by the ice. Patriotism is a maggot in their heads. be naturalized in all climes. What was the meaning of that South-Sea Exploring Expedition. and pile the empty cans sky-high for a sign. Plus habet hic vitae. with five hundred men and boys to assist one.what does the West stand for? Is not our own interior white on the chart? black though it may prove. or a Northwest Passage around this continent. be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you. Gold Coast and Slave Coast. It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar. yet unexplored by him. "Erret. but no bark from them has ventured out of sight of land. Start now on that farthest western way. Yet we should oftener look over the tafferel of our craft. One hastens to southern Africa to chase the giraffe. et extremos alter scrutetur Iberos. if they be necessary. Travel them. Were preserved meats invented to preserve meat merely? Nay. Only the defeated and deserters go to the wars. or the Mississippi. would a man hunt giraffes if he could? Snipes and woodcocks also may afford rare sport. England and France. like the coast. Every man is the lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state. opening new channels. and be Expert in home-cosmography. pray. the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one's being alone. and sacrifice the greater to the less. Is it the source of the Nile. even obey the precept of the old philosopher.

Their truth is instantly translated. Extra vagance! it depends on how you are yarded. It is true. In proportion as he simplifies his life. Neither men nor toadstools grow so. that is where they should be. and so with the paths which the mind travels. The words which express our faith and piety are not definite. which they express by snoring. Who that has heard a strain of music feared then lest he should speak extravagantly any more forever? In view of the future or possible. by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams." through obedience to yet more sacred laws. will pass an invisible boundary. its literal monument alone remains. or the old laws be expanded. and there were not enough to understand you without them. but leads on direct. and at last earth down too. It is said that Mirabeau took to highway robbery "to ascertain what degree of resolution was necessary in order to place one's self in formal opposition to the most sacred laws of society. I desire to speak somewhere without bounds. Now put the foundations under them."that honor and religion have never stood in the way of a well-considered and a firm resolve. moon down. and yet it was idle. and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him. A saner man would have found himself often enough "in formal opposition" to what are deemed "the most sacred laws of society. we should live quite laxly and undefined in front. As if Nature could support but one order of understandings. As if that were important. I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. must be the highways of the world. to men in their waking moments. in milking time. that you shall speak so that they can understand you. It is not for a man to put himself in such an attitude to society. I do not wish to go below now. for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. and so helped to keep it open. and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. and runs after her calf. then. our outlines dim and misty on that side. sun down. day and night. were the best English. if not desperate. he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. if he should chance to meet with such. may not wander far enough beyond the narrow limits of my daily experience. and so have tested his resolution without going out of his way. and solitude will not be solitude. I fear chiefly lest my expression may not be extravagant enough. like a man in a waking moment. yet they are significant and fragrant like frankincense to superior natures. is not extravagant like the cow which kicks over the pail." This was manly. new. summer and winter. for I am convinced that I cannot exaggerate enough even to lay the foundation of a true expression. the laws of the universe will appear less complex. Sometimes we are inclined to class those . How worn and dusty. which seeks new pastures in another latitude. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side. The volatile truth of our words should continually betray the inadequacy of the residual statement. but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world. universal. leaps the cowyard fence. and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live. at least. which Bright can understand. which will never be one of opposition to a just government. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route. and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense. It is a ridiculous demand which England and America make.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 127 not pause at the Mississippi or the Pacific. and hush and whoa. and could not spare any more time for that one. that others may have fallen into it. and though it is five or six years since I trod it. Why level downward to our dullest perception always. nor conduct toward a wornout China or Japan. nor weakness weakness. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men. nor poverty poverty. I fear. As if there were safety in stupidity alone. a tangent to this sphere. flying as well as creeping things. The migrating buffalo. could not sustain birds as well as quadrupeds. your work need not be lost. and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined. but to maintain himself in whatever attitude he find himself through obedience to the laws of his being. He will put some things behind. as our shadows reveal an insensible perspiration toward the sun. If you have built castles in the air. how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage." He declared that "a soldier who fights in the ranks does not require half so much courage as a footpad" -. so as to be adequate to the truth of which I have been convinced. I learned this. and make a beaten track for ourselves. it is still quite distinct. as the world goes.

and it is doubly difficult to get out. which prevails so much more widely and fatally? I do not suppose that I have attained to obscurity. as if the former were not? There was an artist in the city of Kouroo who was disposed to strive after perfection. Any . spirit. a world with full and fair proportions. the former lapse of time had been an illusion. and not be the biggest pygmy that he can? Let every one mind his own business. As he made no compromise with Time. and then resumed his work. He proceeded instantly to the forest for wood. for him and his work. which is white. and not like the azure ether beyond. In sane moments we regard only the facts. Shall we with pains erect a heaven of blue glass over ourselves. without his knowledge. though I should do nothing else in my life. but into a perfect work time does not enter. and endeavor to be what he was made. if they ever got up early enough. it suddenly expanded before the eyes of the astonished artist into the fairest of all the creations of Brahma. One day it came into his mind to make a staff. as if it were muddy. intellect. because we appreciate only a third part of their wit. and ere he had put on the ferule and the head adorned with precious stones. are intellectual dwarfs compared with the ancients. but in a false position. While England endeavors to cure the potato-rot. and the exoteric doctrine of the Vedas". he said to himself. fairer and more glorious ones had taken their places. though the old cities and dynasties had passed away. will not any endeavor to cure the brain-rot. being resolved that it should not be made of unsuitable material. Let him step to the music which he hears. But why do I stay to mention these things? When the finishing stroke was put to his work. His singleness of purpose and resolution. It shall be perfect in all respects. "that the verses of Kabir have four different senses. Having considered that in an imperfect work time is an ingredient. that. though when it is done we shall be sure to gaze still at the true ethereal heaven far above. how could the result be other than wonderful? No face which we can give to a matter will stead us so well at last as the truth.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 128 who are once-and-a-half-witted with the half-witted. which is the evidence of its purity. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies. in which." as I hear. we are not where we are. and his elevated piety. and with the point of the stick he wrote the name of the last of that race in the sand. Say what you have to say. Southern customers objected to its blue color. and he sat on one of its mounds to peel the stick. his friends gradually deserted him. perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. and only sighed at a distance because he could not overcome him. And now he saw by the heap of shavings still fresh at his feet. But what is that to the purpose? A living dog is better than a dead lion. and preferred the Cambridge ice. Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions. "They pretend. or even the Elizabethan men. and put ourselves into it. and that no more time had elapsed than is required for a single scintillation from the brain of Brahma to fall on and inflame the tinder of a mortal brain. but he grew not older by a moment. Some are dinning in our ears that we Americans. the case that is. and his art was pure. illusion. but in this part of the world it is considered a ground for complaint if a man's writings admit of more than one interpretation. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. what were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality. For the most part. Before he had given it the proper shape the dynasty of the Candahars was at an end. but I should be proud if no more fatal fault were found with my pages on this score than was found with the Walden ice. Before he had found a stock in all respects suitable the city of Kouroo was a hoary ruin. He had made a new system in making a staff. The material was pure. but tastes of weeds. with perennial youth. for they grew old in their works and died. Through an infinity of our natures. and moderns generally. however measured or far away. Brahma had awoke and slumbered many times. The purity men love is like the mists which envelop the earth. not what you ought. Time kept out of his way. we suppose a case. Some would find fault with the morning red. and as he searched for and rejected stick after stick. By the time he had smoothed and polished the staff Kalpa was no longer the pole-star. This alone wears well. and hence are in two cases at the same time. Shall he turn his spring into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet. endowed him.

was asked if he had anything to say.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 129 truth is better than make-believe. to travel the only path I can. standing on the gallows. --. to gravitate toward that which most strongly and rightfully attracts me -. What are men celebrating? They are all on a committee of arrangements. Things do not change. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. It is life near the bone where it is sweetest. No man loses ever on a lower level by magnanimity on a higher.not suppose a case. Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Most think that they are above being supported by the town. Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction -. Let us not play at kittly-benders. for instance. "to remember to make a knot in their thread before they take the first stitch. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb. whether clothes or friends. into whose composition was poured a little alloy of bell-metal. but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by. Tom Hyde. all transient and fleeting phenomena. do not shun it and call it hard names. You are defended from being a trifler. Do not depend on the putty. The town's poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any.not hang by the beam of the scale and try to weigh less -. Often. There is a solid bottom everywhere. "I thought you said that this bog had a hard bottom. If I were confined to a corner of a garret all my days." We are often reminded that if there were bestowed on us the wealth of Croesus. trivial Nineteenth Century. the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. Humility like darkness reveals the heavenly lights. However mean your life is. but he is an old boy that knows it. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. as in a palace. poor as it is. but it oftener happens that they are not above supporting themselves by dishonest means. I delight to come to my bearings -. it is all dissipation. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode. We read that the traveller asked the boy if the swamp before him had a hard bottom. "but you have not got half way to it yet. if you are restricted in your range by poverty. Every . It looks poorest when you are richest." said he. "Tell the tailors. and he observed to the boy. in the repose of my mid-day. like a spider. but take the case that is.not to live in this restless. till I am ready to leap from their court-yard like the Mameluke bey. our aims must still be the same. the world would be just as large to me while I had my thoughts about me. and have as cheering thoughts. The boy replied that it had. I live in the angle of a leaden wall. the tinker. Only what is thought. The interest and the conversation are about costume and manners chiefly. Love your life. Mr. but to walk even with the Builder of the universe." His companion's prayer is forgotten. and Webster is his orator. You may perhaps have some pleasant. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things. of the Hon. God will see that you do not want society. in a conspicuous place.of Georgia or of Massachusetts. to subject yourself to many influences to be played on. meet it and live it.a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse. but I am no more interested in such things than in the contents of the Daily Times. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. but a goose is a goose still. I would not be one of those who will foolishly drive a nail into mere lath and plastering. and put it in disorder. and so only. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there. to settle. Turn the old. I love to weigh. glorious hours. The shadows of poverty and meanness gather around us. "and lo! creation widens to our view. The philosopher said: "From an army of three divisions one can take away its general. Moreover. like sage. said. It is the noise of my contemporaries. if you cannot buy books and newspapers. of England and the Indies. dress it as you will. return to them. there reaches my ears a confused tintinnabulum from without. and our means essentially the same." So it is with the bogs and quicksands of society. bustling. and hourly expect a speech from somebody. So will help you God. Maybe they are simply great enough to receive without misgiving. which should be more disreputable. nervous. if I may -. God is only the president of the day. from the man the most abject and vulgar one cannot take away his thought. It affords me no satisfaction to commerce to spring an arch before I have got a solid foundation. But presently the traveller's horse sank in up to the girths. we change. Give me a hammer." Do not seek so anxiously to be developed. and let me feel for the furring. such a deed would keep me awake nights. It is not so bad as you are.not walk in procession with pomp and parade. They tell me of California and Texas. thrilling. or done at a certain rare coincidence is good. you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences. My neighbors tell me of their adventures with famous gentlemen and ladies. even in a poorhouse. what notabilities they met at the dinner-table. and that on which no power can resist me." answered the latter." "So it has. you are compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar and the most starch.

There is an incessant influx of novelty into the world. It was not always dry land where we dwell. The style. a newer. The life in us is like the water in the river. The learned societies and great men of Assyria -. it speaks of its progress in art and science and literature with satisfaction. I called on the king. but sincerity and truth were not.where are they? What youthful philosophers and experimentalists we are! There is not one of my readers who has yet lived a whole human life. hatched perchance by the heat of an urn. It is said that the British Empire is very large and respectable. and obsequious attendance. which shall never die" -. but I thought of an older. while we believe in the ordinary and mean.heard perchance gnawing out now for years by the astonished . This generation inclines a little to congratulate itself on being the last of an illustrious line. and in Boston and London and Paris and Rome. first in Connecticut. we are deep thinkers. thinking of its long descent.from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still. "Yes. which they had not got. and the public Eulogies of Great Men! It is the good Adam contemplating his own virtue. as appeared by counting the annual layers beyond it. We think that we can change our clothes only. I thought that there was no need of ice to freeze them. and ask myself why it will cherish those humble thoughts. we are ambitious spirits! As I stand over the insect crawling amid the pine needles on the forest floor. of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood. and impart to its race some cheering information. which had stood in a farmer's kitchen for sixty years. Most have not delved six feet beneath the surface. of a more glorious vintage. sung with a nasal twang. I see far inland the banks which the stream anciently washed. give me truth. If we have had the seven-years' itch. Every one has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England. than fame. before science began to record its freshets. and yet we tolerate incredible dulness. There are such words as joy and sorrow. We do not believe that a tide rises and falls behind every man which can float the British Empire like a chip. which has been gradually converted into the semblance of its well-seasoned tomb -. than money. which was heard gnawing out for several weeks. and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. I need only suggest what kind of sermons are still listened to in the most enlightened countries. you carrying on the work. deposited at first in the alburnum of the green and living tree. They talked to me of the age of the wine and the fame of the vintage.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor nail driven should be as another rivet in the machine of the universe. and bide its head from me who might. if he should ever harbor it in his mind. be its benefactor. but he made me wait in his hall. even this may be the eventful year. the house and grounds and "entertainment" pass for nothing with me. Who does not feel his faith in a resurrection and immortality strengthened by hearing of this? Who knows what beautiful and winged life. and hire a man to hoe his potatoes. These may be but the spring months in the life of the race. we have done great deeds. 130 Rather than love. and purer wine. but they are only the burden of a psalm. and sung divine songs. There was a man in my neighborhood who lived in a hollow tree. and endeavoring to conceal itself from my sight. perhaps. we have not seen the seventeen-year locust yet in Concord. Beside. Yet we esteem ourselves wise. and could not buy. whose egg has been buried for ages under many concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry life of society. I am reminded of the greater Benefactor and Intelligence that stands over me the human insect. and have an established order on the surface. It may rise this year higher than man has ever known it. in after-dinner conversations over the wine. and afterward in Massachusetts -. Who knows what sort of seventeen-year locust will next come out of the ground? The government of the world I live in was not framed. nor leaped as many above it. How long shall we sit in our porticoes practising idle and musty virtues. We know not where we are. and that the United States are a first-rate power. and in the afternoon go forth to practise Christian meekness and charity with goodness aforethought! Consider the China pride and stagnant self-complacency of mankind. I should have done better had I called on him. we are sound asleep nearly half our time. which will drown out all our muskrats. as long as we can remember them. and conducted like a man incapacitated for hospitality. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance. and flood the parched uplands. like that of Britain. We are acquainted with a mere pellicle of the globe on which we live. which any work would make impertinent? As if one were to begin the day with long-suffering. His manners were truly regal. There are the Records of the Philosophical Societies. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.that is. Truly.

it finally amounts to this. by means of their respect . in the outset. but most governments are usually. so much as for the right. is not because they are most likely to be in the right. and it would have done somewhat more. and that will be one step toward obtaining it. endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity. This American government -.in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment. and. not at once no government. resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience. and all governments are sometimes. for a single man can bend it to his will. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished. It is excellent. but conscience? -. to satisfy that idea of government which they have. There is more day to dawn. for their own advantage.what is it but a tradition. Trade and commerce. -. It does not keep the country free. may also at last be brought against a standing government. to speak practically and as a citizen. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. The sun is but a morning star. that will be the kind of government which they will have. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. -. and deserve to prevail."That government is best which governs least". but at once a better government. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience. but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. and they are many and weighty. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will. but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 131 family of man. but because they are physically the strongest. and when men are prepared for it. as they sat round the festive board -. unlike those who call themselves no-government men. Government is at best but an expedient. the practical reason why. the governed are most let alone by it. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice. the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool. if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions. But. I ask for. Carried out. The government itself. and. and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. for the people must have some complicated machinery or other. if they were not made of India rubber. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. and subjects afterward. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone. Law never made men a whit more just. they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law. nor because this seems fairest to the minority. to enjoy its perfect summer life at last! I do not say that John or Jonathan will realize all this. It does not educate. is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. which also I believe."That government is best which governs not at all". if the government had not sometimes got in its way. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect. ON THE DUTY OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE I heartily accept the motto. would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way. or in the least degree. a majority are permitted. Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong. though a recent one.may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society's most trivial and handselled furniture. and. After all. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. even impose on themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this. and not partly by their intentions. when the power is once in the hands of the people. but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man. the people would not have consented to this measure. The objections which have been brought against a standing army. and hear its din. and for a long period continue. when it is most expedient. even as far as men understand it. Witness the present Mexican war. inexpedient. It does not settle the West. we must all allow. then? I think that we should be men first. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on. to rule. for. as has been said.

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero we buried. the right to refuse allegiance to. To be a secondary at control. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. and men. and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. and the militia. and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. reformers in the great sense. captain. that you may see a file of soldiers. in the Revolution of '75. and office-holders. they are as likely to serve the devil. and all. or such as it can make a man with its black arts -. and behold a marine. as they rarely make any moral distinctions. A wise man will only be useful as a man. not as men mainly. with their bodies. as most legislators. buried under arms with funeral accompaniments. what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines. and already. as one may say. As his corse to the rampart we hurried. corporal. but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones. without intending it. not a funeral note. which makes it very steep marching indeed. All men recognize the right of revolution." The mass of men serve the state thus. serve the state chiefly with their heads. patriots. though it may be "Not a drum was heard.a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity. and produces a palpitation of the heart. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports. and." and "stop a hole to keep the wind away. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is. martyrs. even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars. against their wills. that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. and to resist. they are all peaceably inclined. lawyers. colonel. Now. etc.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 132 for it. posse comitatus. at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense. ministers. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned. as heroes. powder-monkeys." but leave that office to his dust at least:-"I am too high-born to be propertied. it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it. and so necessarily resist it for the most part. Or useful serving-man and instrument To any sovereign state throughout the world. for I can do without them. they think. They are the standing army. the government. against their common sense and consciences. and will not submit to be "clay. politicians. ay." He who gives himself entirely to his fellow-men appears to them useless and selfish. Others. as God. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. a man laid out alive and standing. privates. but as machines. serve the state with their consciences also. A very few. and possibly this . that is. but he who gives himself partially to them is pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist. such a man as an American government can make. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case. constables. jailers. How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer. All machines have their friction.

Paley. after dinner. with moral questions. But when the friction comes to have its machine. and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery. well disposed. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own. therefore. We are accustomed to say. This people must cease to hold slaves. but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. for that will leaven the whole lump. This. because the few are not materially wiser or better than the many. to the right. that the established government be obeyed. I cast my vote. In other words. It is not so important that many should be as good as you. and sometimes they petition. would be inconvenient. and a feeble countenance and Godspeed. nations agree with Paley. in which a people. he says. esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot to-day? They hesitate. who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them. that the mass of men are unprepared. and they regret. This principle being admitted. as well as an individual. co-operate with.. who. with a slight moral tinge to it. cost what it may. and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other. it is a great evil to make a stir about it. that they may no longer have it to regret. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. a playing with right and wrong. In their practice. At most. and he proceeds to say that "so long as the interest of the whole society requires it. and say that they know not what to do. the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side. it will be because they are indifferent to slavery. that is. for others to remedy the evil. At any rate. and without whom the latter would be harmless." Of this. a common authority with many on moral questions. as it goes by them. They will wait.. when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves. it may be. nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. every man shall judge for himself. and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico. cost what it may. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man.. I say. must do justice. and to make war on Mexico. Its obligation. but with those who. the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South. though it cost them their existence as a people. but improvement is slow.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 133 does enough good to counterbalance the evil. but ours is the invading army. To have her train borne up. or because there is but little slavery . perchance. All voting is a sort of gaming. near at home. who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free-trade. and betting naturally accompanies it. I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government. and subjected to military law. and her soul trail in the dirt. and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico. as I think right. as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere. according to Paley. I am willing to leave it to the majority. But he that would save his life. and do nothing. I quarrel not with far-off foes. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war. and do the bidding of those far away. But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply. who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity. and. never exceeds that of expediency.. and no longer." resolves all civil obligation into expediency. I must restore it to him though I drown myself. so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniency. like checkers or backgammon. and oppression and robbery are organized. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man. let us not have such a machine any longer. it is the will of God. shall lose it. they give only a cheap vote. fall asleep over them both. but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. The character of the voters is not staked.. but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance. but it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it. in such a case. but does any one think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the present crisis? "A drab of state. sit down with their hands in their pockets. a cloth-o'-silver slut." Practically speaking.

and.the union between themselves and the State -. before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb. when his country has more reason to despair of him. what is it to any independent. is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught. but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in this country? Hardly one. Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union. at least. we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. made up chiefly of editors. by their money. that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. and from immoral it becomes.one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness. he may still properly have other concerns to engage him. I have heard some of my townsmen say.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 134 left to be abolished by their vote. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote. the noble are most likely to incur. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow -. and despairs of his country. yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters. as my neighbor says.the perception and the performance of right -. has immediately drifted from his position. that he may pursue his contemplations too. for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency. and so indirectly. or with saying that you are cheated. under the name of Order and Civil Government. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war. on coming into the world. They will then be the only slaves. and. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one. as it were. intelligent. at least. Those who. "I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves. I must get off him first. who may have been bought. and men who are politicians by profession. that the State does to the Union? And have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting the Union. Action from principle -. or elsewhere. and. so called.changes things and . I must first see. whose first and chief concern. and enjoy it? Is there any enjoyment in it. to devote himself to the eradication of any. Why do they not dissolve it themselves -. at least.see if I would go".and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? Do not they stand in the same relation to the State. or to march to Mexico. which have prevented them from resisting the State? How can a man be satisfied to entertain an opinion merely. directly by their allegiance. and yet these very men have each. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference. in short ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance company. while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government. and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. but I think. and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful self-reliance. furnished a substitute. you do not rest satisfied with knowing that you are cheated. has a bone in his back which you cannot pass your hand through! Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. and see that you are never cheated again. thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. to disregard the requisitions of the President. unmoral. -. but it is his duty. and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable. as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned. to wash his hands of it. is to see that the almshouses are in good repair. or even with petitioning him to pay you your due. if he gives it no thought longer. even the most enormous wrong. as a matter of course. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native. Oh for a man who is a man. Thus. not to give it practically his support. nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man. who. to collect a fund for the support of the widows and orphans that may be. which has promised to bury him decently. It is not a man's duty. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations. if his opinion is that he is aggrieved? If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor. and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made. but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount.

and if they should not hear my petition. like birth and death which convulse the body. If the injustice has a spring. for whom he . and. if they should resist. it divides families. let it go. before they suffer the right to prevail through them. the remedy would be worse than the evil. after all. the most effectual. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. without waiting for that other one. the tax-gatherer.for it is. A man has not everything to do. and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ. think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. be it good or bad. at any rate.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 135 relations. I came into this world. not chiefly to make this a good place to live in.in the person of its tax-gatherer. It is not my business to be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me. How shall he ever know well what he is and does as an officer of the government. once a year -. he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconciliatory. I have other affairs to attend to. but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State. let it go. or its representative. the indispensablest mode of treating with it on this head. its suitable and proportionate. They take too much time. and the simplest. exclusively for itself. and face to face. it is not necessary that he should do something wrong. I meet this American government. it is essentially revolutionary. the State government. or a rope. from the government of Massachusetts. what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way. and because he cannot do everything. but to live in it. and obey them until we have succeeded. or as a man. its very Constitution is the evil. penalty? If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State. I know not of such ways. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side. Unjust laws exist. else. I say. directly.certainly the machine will wear out. or a crank. separating the diabolical in him from the divine. and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels? One would think. It not only divides states and churches. both in person and property. it divides the individual. and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther.and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. then. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults. I do not hesitate to say. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. and a man's life will be gone. but something. he is soon permitted to go at large again. It makes it worse. why has it not assigned its definite. and determined only by the discretion of those who placed him there. until he is obliged to consider whether he shall treat me. is to deny it then. As for adopting the ways which the State has provided for remedying the evil. his neighbor. then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil. and not wait till they constitute a majority of one.no more -. in the present posture of affairs. any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already. If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government. shall we be content to obey them. and it then says distinctly. that a deliberate and practical denial of its authority was the only offence never contemplated by government. Recognize me. that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn. under such a government as this. So is an change for the better. or shall we endeavor to amend them. They think that. or a pulley. but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another. break the law. with men and not with parchment that I quarrel -. perchance it will wear smooth -. or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally. that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support. Moreover. is the very man I have to deal with -. of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it. What I have to do is to see. and does not consist wholly with anything which was. this is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it. My civil neighbor. ay.

how to spend it. where the State places those who are not with her. The proper place to-day. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison. it is not even a minority then. not a strip of paper merely. the definition of a peaceable revolution. as a neighbor and well-disposed man.though at present she can discover only an act of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her -. It is there that the fugitive slave. in fact." said he. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. the less virtue. and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. or give up war and slavery. as they have already put themselves out by their principles. "If you really wish to do anything. that they would not be as an enemy within its walls.if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money. and to God those things which are God's" -- . particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar's government.not to make any invidious comparison -. and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State. I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender. I see this blood flowing now. and he bleeds to an everlasting death. if one HONEST man. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year. -. if you are men of the State. that if one thousand. Cast your whole vote. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. if one hundred.the Legislature would not wholly waive the subject the following winter. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. but against her -. and it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 136 has respect. for money comes between a man and his objects. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer. and obtains them for him. rather than the seizure of his goods -.is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. should find them. If any think that their influence would be lost there. "But what shall I do?" my answer is. and the officer has resigned his office. the more money. If the tax-gatherer. while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one. and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State. Under a government which imprisons any unjustly.if ten honest men only -. that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister -. commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person.though both will serve the same purpose -. then pay him back some of his own when he demands it. but more free and honorable ground. the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less desponding spirits. that is. the State will not hesitate which to choose. then the revolution is accomplished. who will devote his days to the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council Chamber. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service. were actually to withdraw from this copartnership. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out.because they who assert the purest right. But the rich man -. they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error. "Render therefore to Caesar that which is Caesar's. But even suppose blood should flow. ceasing to hold slaves. and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant. This is. were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts. If my esteemed neighbor. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as what are called the "means" are increased. if ten men whom I could name -. instead of being threatened with the prisons of Carolina. the true place for a just man is also a prison. on that separate. and the Mexican prisoner on parole. the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. as one has done. in this State of Massachusetts. and be locked up in the county jail therefor." When the subject has refused allegiance. resign your office. if any such is possible. "Show me the tribute-money. To such the State renders comparatively small service.the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. that would not be a violent and bloody measure. and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborliness without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action? I know this well. the State's ambassador. but not one man. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority. but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race. and which he has made current and valuable. to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act. -. or any other public officer. asks me. or as a maniac and disturber of the peace. Absolutely speaking.and one took a penny out of his pocket. is in her prisons. as it would be to pay them. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. it would be the abolition of slavery in America.ay. but your whole influence.

there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through. another man saw fit to pay it. but only his body. but I did not know where to find a complete list. that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons. Henry Thoreau. but behaved like persons who are underbred. and he has it. the door of wood and iron. I saw that. and not the priest the schoolmaster: for I was not the State's schoolmaster. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder. as I stood considering the walls of solid stone. but never I myself. "or be locked up in the jail. before they could get to be as free as I was. that I. I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing:-. I have paid no poll-tax for six years. and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended. and their regard for the public tranquillity." This I gave to the town clerk. if a state is not governed by the principles of reason. I did not for a moment feel confined."Know all men by these presents. and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I saw that the State was half-witted. and pitied it. having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church." No: until I want the protection of Massachusetts to be extended to me in some distant Southern port." it said. and. and I lost all my remaining respect for it. will abuse his dog. I perceive that. Thus the State never intentionally confronts a man's sense. unfortunately. the long and the short of the matter is. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax-bill. As they could not reach me. though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. However. or until I am bent solely on building up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise. "Pay. I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. Some years ago. If I had known how to name them. They plainly did not know how to treat me. 137 When I converse with the freest of my neighbors. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to. The State. that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government. You must hire or squat somewhere. This is hard. and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a start. But. and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. for one night. But. and not have many affairs. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property. the State met me in behalf of the Church. and her right to my property and life. and eat that soon. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest. and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. as well as the Church. for they did not wish to know. at the request of the selectmen. they had resolved to punish my body. but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. and have the State to back its demand. and they were really all that was dangerous. I was put into a jail once on this account. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations. A man may grow rich in Turkey even. for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. Confucius said. that would be sure to go again. and so harass me and my children without end.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor leaving them no wiser than before as to which was which. a foot thick. if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen. just as boys. it will soon take and waste all my property. For my own part. I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to. and that it did not know its friends from its foes. two or three feet thick. and at the same time comfortably in outward respects. ." I declined to pay. which followed them out again without let or hindrance. has never made a like demand on me since. where my liberty is endangered. whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case. intellectual or moral. to be locked up. You must live within yourself. riches and honors are the subjects of shame. I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones. "If a state is governed by the principles of reason. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax-bill. and the iron grating which strained the light. I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts. poverty and misery are subjects of shame. do not wish to be regarded as a member of any incorporated society which I have not joined. and raise but a small crop. if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite. his senses.

What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. made to fit. "they accuse me of burning a barn. it is time to lock up". as the world goes. and I the other. and this one. presuming him to be an honest man. at least. when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side. I asked him in my turn how he came there. I never had seen its institutions before. The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. it dies. It was a closer view of my native town. when I had told him. but I never did it. It must help itself. which were inside the grating. I believe he was. "Your money or your life. I was fairly inside of it. when I entered. and how he managed matters there. The prisoners in their shirt-sleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway. his principal business would be to look out the window. and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. and holding a pint of chocolate. I do not hear of men being forced to have this way or that by masses of men. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as "a first-rate fellow and a clever man." As near as I could discover. the one does not remain inert to make way for the other.a wholly new and rare experience to me. He naturally wanted to know where I came from. and so a barn was burnt." When the door was locked. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages. which are afterward printed in a circular form. I perceive that." said he. was the whitest. If a plant cannot live according to its nature. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed. I am not the son of the engineer. perchance. "Why. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. But the jailer said. till one. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town-clock strike before. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. but he was quite domesticated and contented. and left me to blow out the lamp. They force me to become like themselves. most simply furnished. for I found that even here there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. and. whither he went . for fear I should never see him again. overshadows and destroys the other. This is one of its peculiar institutions. and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream. and examined where former prisoners had broken out. but both obey their own laws. and thought that he was well treated." why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait. He had the reputation of being a clever man. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there. for we slept with the windows open. who avenged themselves by singing them. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about. I was green enough to return what bread I had left. had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on. and probably the neatest apartment in the town. nor the evening sounds of the village.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 138 It is not armed with superior wit or honesty. in small oblong-square tin pans. but with superior physical strength. It was like travelling into a far country. and would have to wait as much longer. and an iron spoon. for it is a shire town. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field. and heard the history of the various occupants of that room. He occupied one window. but at length he showed me which was my bed. but my comrade seized it. such as I had never expected to behold. to lie there for one night. with brown bread. I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could. In the morning. When they called for the vessels again. and so they dispersed. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village-inn -. "Come. and not know what to do: I cannot help that. but not published. I was not born to be forced. he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk. and. I was shown quite a long list of verses which were composed by some young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape. and smoked his pipe there. and where a grate had been sawed off. do as I do. boys. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me. our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. and I saw that if one stayed there long. he showed me where to hang my hat. and so a man. since he got his board for nothing. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. and what brought me there. of course. The rooms were whitewashed once a month. and spring and grow and flourish as best they can. and visions of knights and castles passed before me.

and paid that tax -. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mended. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State. they ran no risks. on your side. without the possibility. of appeal to any other millions. and. looking through their fingers. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar. If others pay the tax which is demanded of me. or permit others to suffer much greater pain of a different kind. It is for no particular item in the tax-bill that I refuse to pay it. lest his action be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly. and country -greater than any that mere time could effect.for the horse was soon tackled -. it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good. when a poor debtor came out of jail. if I could.I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common.was in the midst of a huckleberry field. It was formerly the custom in our village. and yet a change had to my eyes come over the scene -. they do but what they have already done in their own case. When I was let out the next morning. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed. without ill-will. they are only ignorant. again. why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force? You do not resist cold and hunger. as is usual in such cases. without heat. joined a huckleberry party. but first looked at me. Again. and as for supporting schools. that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them. I am doing my part to educate my fellow-countrymen now. of retracting or altering their present demand. the winds . and hoped. who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct. so he bade me good-day. on one of our highest hills. by a certain outward observance and a few prayers. When I came out of prison -. saying that he doubted if he should see me again. till it buys a man or a musket to shoot one with -.but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? But I think. Why. In fact. demand of you a few shillings only. to save their souls. which were crossed to represent the grating of a jail window. this people mean well. from a sympathy with the State. This. I proceeded to finish my errand. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case. then.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 139 every day. after my fashion. having put on my mended shoe. or prevent his going to jail. as the Chinamen and Malays are. such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a tottering and gray-headed man. not even to their property.the dollar is innocent -." I have never declined paying the highway tax. and State. to save his property. and would not be back till noon. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends. and in half an hour -. is my position at present. When many millions of men. I quietly declare war with the State. This is the whole history of "My Prisons. This is no reason why I should do as they do. that their friendship was for summer weather only. that in their sacrifices to humanity. that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions. for his acquaintances to salute him. and then the State was nowhere to be seen. without personal feeling of any kind. such is their constitution. I sometimes say to myself. two miles off. or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. as if I had returned from a long journey. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour. and without the possibility. that they did not greatly propose to do right.the town. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village. and by walking in a particular straight though useless path from time to time. because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject. I think sometimes. "How do ye do?" My neighbors did not thus salute me.for some one interfered. and then at one another.

but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects. I am but too ready to conform to them. and the spirit of the people. and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men. You do not put your head into the fire. from them to the Maker of them. even this State and this American government are. standing so completely within the institution. Indeed. and the highest." I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands. who shall say what they are. never distinctly and nakedly behold it. even in this world. Statesmen and legislators. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind's range and . like a good Mussulman and fatalist. is very good. and say it is the will of God. It is not many moments that I live under a government. and so cannot speak with authority about it. but I cannot expect. you quietly submit to a thousand similar necessities. secondly. I should endeavor to be satisfied with things as they are. but partly a human force. the Constitution. I see that appeal is possible. then. such as a great many have described them. as the tax-gatherer comes round. but have no resting-place without it. thus obstinately.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 140 and the waves. and I have only myself to blame. We must respect effects and teach the soul Matter of conscience and religion. there is this difference between resisting this and a purely brute or natural force. there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker of fire. and then I shall be no better a patriot than my fellow-countrymen. even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all? However. in some respects. They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination. the law and the courts are very respectable. above all. If a man is thought-free. that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him. I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments. that I can resist this with some effect. imagination-free. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency. like Orpheus. to discover a pretext for conformity. to be thankful for. and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems. for which we sincerely thank them. content me as little as any. very admirable and rare things. Webster never goes behind government. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force. and those who legislate for all time. Seen from a lower point of view. I may say. unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him. I do not wish to split hairs. I have reason to suspect myself on this head. I know that most men think differently from myself. And if at any time we alienate Our love or industry from doing it honor. they are what I have described them. And not desire of rule or benefit. but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. and not of mere brute or inanimate things. And. but for thinkers. seen from a higher still. His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government. They speak of moving society. to make fine distinctions. from them to themselves. to change the nature of the rocks and trees and beasts. or set myself up as better than my neighbors. fancy-free. and not according. but seen from a point of view a little higher. first and instantaneously. and to treat them accordingly. If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied with men as they are. in many respects. "We must affect our country as our parents. and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. I seek rather. he never once glances at the subject. But. and. with all its faults. to my requisitions and expectations of what they and I ought to be. the government does not concern me much. I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. and each year. if I put my head deliberately into the fire.

have nothing whatever to do with it. and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountain-head. We love eloquence for its own sake. is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing. he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations. and eloquent men. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance. There are orators. would prepare the way for a still more . I please myself with imagining a State at least which can afford to be just to all men. commerce and manufacturers and agriculture. Still. but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. who have traced up its stream no higher. yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation? The authority of government. and the still cheaper wisdom and eloquence of politicians in general.what. nor embraced by it. for instance. from which all its own power and authority are derived. and treats him accordingly. and justice. and we thank Heaven for him. while professing to speak absolutely. A State which bore this kind of fruit. but a follower. which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it. "Because it was a part of the original compact -. Comparatively. but prudence. the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power. He is not a leader." Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery. who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect -. by the Bible and the Constitution. springing from a feeling of humanity. and not for any truth which it may utter. Is a democracy. They are rare in the history of the world. and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor.for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free-trade and of freedom. or any heroism it may inspire. He well deserves to be called. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy. from a limited monarchy to a democracy. and never mean to countenance an effort. but ventures. to make some such desperate answer as the following.Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor 141 hospitality. I have never countenanced an effort. or is driven. America would not long retain her rank among the nations. and drink at it there with reverence and humility. such as we know it. original. His leaders are the men of '87." They who know of no purer sources of truth." says he. The lawyer's truth is not truth. it behooves a man to do here in America to-day with regard to slavery. No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They have never received any encouragement from me. and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened. under their responsibility to their constituents. and of rectitude. by which the various States came into the Union. For eighteen hundred years. not meddling with it. to a nation. "and never propose to make an effort. and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well -. compared with the cheap professions of most reformers. and as a private man -.from which what new and singular code of social duties might be inferred? "The manner. gird up their loins once more. he says. stand. and. his are almost the only sensible and valuable words. though perchance I have no right to say it." he says." Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability. and to God. to disturb the arrangement as originally made. There are really no blows to be given by him but defensive ones. of union. by the thousand. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. the New Testament has been written. above all. Yet. the Defender of the Constitution. humanity. "in which the governments of those States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. he is always strong. to the general laws of propriety. but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool. but consistency or a consistent expediency. politicians. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance. and wisely stand. Truth is always in harmony with herself. it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. "I have never made an effort. Associations formed elsewhere. his quality is not wisdom. or any other cause.is still an impure one: to be strictly just. and they never will. even such as I am willing to submit to -. uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people. practical.let it stand. as he has been called.

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